“General, your tank is a powerful vehicle
It smashes down forests and crushes a hundred men.
But it has one defect:
It needs a driver.

General, your bomber is powerful.
It flies faster than a storm and carries more than an elephant.
But it has one defect:
It needs a mechanic.

General, man is very useful.
He knows how to fly and how to kill.
But he has one little defect:
He knows how to think, as well.”

 

It is one of the biggest fears of the sovereign powers throughout the history that one day, the vast majority of the public will percieve the reason of this social injustice, even worse, realize that they don’t need to bow that so called inevitable fate. For that reason, especially during the crisis periods, slogans like “Strong State, Strong Army, Strong Leadreship, Strong Nation” clichés are continously whispered to nation’s ears.    

 

Like Bertolt Brecht, who showed us that truth cannot be hidden, via not only his masterpiece plays such as “The Threepenny Opera, Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagony, The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui” but also with his poems like the one above; there is an artist on this soil, almost hundred years after Brecht and like the women’s right warrior Alexandra Kollontai,  trying to expose all the dark sides of the system, state, war, monitorizing the inequalities between man and women, analyizng child abuse, human rights, racism, discrimination etc. Her name is Şeyda Özdamar.

 

In the current post-modern process where fiction and truth is meshed, despite the claim that the borders are removed, distances are shortened between the communities&nations; the gap between the north and south/west and east is widening, where inequalities and pains of mankind is also increasingly going on. The individual is exposed to violance more than ever…

 

A country like Turkey, an open market for exploitation whose one foot is on the west and the other one on the east, all the issues like the human/women’s rights, child abuse, state terror racism etc. is imposed as a natural flow of life, which after a while causes unresponsiveness in the society. Şeyda Özdemir, points a finger on all these current facts with an iconoclastic approach, thanks to her “works” that are created in the last two years. 

All the issues that are either not touched, shelved or manipulated, opressed, exploited, marginalized peoples, lives… Born&raised either in the big city or country, self-seeker politicians, due to these policies societies that are becoming more and more conservative and as a result ‘structures’ where interclass communication becomes almost impossible. A cry against standardization, monologism, monoculturalism arouses at Şeyda Özdamar’s “works” at her current exhibition.

 

She scrutinises the changes at the education system and its reflections on the society such as bigotry via photographs, while keeping an eye on the importance of the enlightenment of the children&youth especially. Since the Artist believes that analogue photography is a historical document for the collective consciousness as well as a nostalgic confidential item, Özdamar prefers to build her works on top of these exclusive images&stories.

 

The exhibition’s main themes can be observed at the “highlights” that are namely; Shield, Small Politics (for the almighty governing structure), Not Free, Victim and Pawn (for its projections in the society); Asia, Contact, A Path to Freedom, East/West (that makes us to think a way out) are all preseneted with a variety of techniques from water colour to lavis, from photography to collagé, even stitching. “Old seems decaying and the new seems emerging but not yet consolidated” as Antonio Gramsci says, Şeyda Özdamar tries to express herself, meanwhile  synchronically, puts a mirror to us, to all our contradictions and hypocrisy…

 

Alaz Toker