The Four-Legged Municipality: Street Dogs of Istanbul
To some, they're terrifying beasts, while to others they’re the best friend anyone could ask for. Whatever feelings you may have about street dogs, the undeniable fact is that the four-legged creatures with whom we share the city’s streets play an important role in our social life. “How?” you may ask. Well, the answer to that question can be found in Istanbul Research Institute’s latest exhibition, The Four-Legged Municipality: Street Dogs of Istanbul. The exhibition looks at the fate of dogs in the city by dividing history into two periods. From the Conquest of Istanbul until the Tanzimat Era, dogs served faithfully as the guardians of public property, but once modernization took off in the 19th century, so did the banishment of these animals begin. This mistreatment of street dogs reached its peak with the Hayırsızada Dog Massacre in 1910, which saw around 80,000 strays exiled to Sivriada, many of them dying on the boat ride over there. The exhibition recounts all of this history with photographs, travelogues, postcards, magazines and engravings. The dogs are obviously the focal point of the exhibition, but the works on display also provide glimpses into Istanbul’s history, with certain images – like those that depict the murder of dogs in gas chambers – proving to be both saddening and thought provoking for the viewer. The exhibition’s curator Ekrem Işın believes Street dogs have developed their own philosophy of life, just as we have. To him, dogs are multifunctional resi
The images taken by photojournalist Emin Özmen depict Middle Eastern refugees from 2012 onward. Özmen received support from the Magnum Photos Photographer Fund for this project, which evokes a multitude of feelings such as hope, anxiety and fear in the viewer. Admission to the exhibition is free of charge, but don’t forget to register online for entrance to the French Cultural Center.
19. Istanbul International Puppet Festival
How did you decide to organize the festival 19 years ago?“Some of our goals were to revive our country’s puppetry tradition, to do a better job of promoting Karagöz internationally, to help Istanbul stand out among other metropolises in this area of arts and culture, to boost tourism, and to bring world-renowned artists to our city. The first festival was more academic in nature, with conference series and exhibitions on Turkish shadow puppet theater in addition to puppetry shows. Now the festival boasts a jam-packed program and is spread across many more venues.” What were some of the challenges you faced over the last 19 years?“In the first years we had trouble finding Turkish puppetry groups; now there are dozens of them wanting to participate in the festival. We brought the best puppetry artists in the world to Istanbul to form a dialogue between them and Turkish artists. We had scarcely any education opportunities for puppetry; now we see there’s great demand for puppetry education and workshops in educational institutions. We also receive more requests for puppetry shows from shopping malls. Most importantly, there is now an audience with an interest in puppetry. When you consider these developments, the festival contributes greatly to the prestige of puppetry as an art form.” How did you discover you were passionate about puppets?“When I was 13, I became involved with the Karagöz shadow puppet theater on the recommendation of my art teacher Ali Kıyak, who was a stude