Bekir Orhan's Thesis Opening

Saturday, August 13, 2011

'The SCAD exhibitions department presents "Memories in Mother Tongue," a thesis exhibition by M.F.A. illustration student Abubekir Orhan. "Memories in Mother Tongue" is a visual translation of significant experiences the artist has had in relation to his Kurdish identity. The content of this show includes autobiographical elements, the psychological aspect of the artist's experiences, and his personal approach to contemporary Kurdish politics.'

That is the description of the exhibition on SCAD's website. It is accurate, but not adequate to describe the emotional impact of these images.
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As I understand it (and I am no expert on the Turkish/Kurd relationship), Kurds and Turks have been in various forms of conflict for centuries, but in modern times (since the Ottoman Empire, around WWI), the "Turkification" of the Kurdish population intensified, and most Kurds found themselves being forced to resettle in small pockets scattered across the country, mostly to the East and Southeast. This forced ethnic cleansing split up families, not only physically, but culturally as well. The Kurdish children were forced to abandon their native language and culture in favor of the Turkish language and alphabet, meaning that the adults and their children slowly began to lose the ability to communicate with each other, resulting in a wrenching disconnect between generations.
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This collection of visual memories of that time and place speak to the loss of one's culture and language, the isolation of having no place that can be called home, and the political tension that permeates every aspect of life as an oppressed minority.

Many thanks to Vice President P.J. Johnson for once again showing his support for all the students at SCAD.

There was a large contingent of fellow SCAD students on hand, as well as friends and family.

Bekir charming Yina Hyder
...and Yina telling him where to go, apparently.

Heather Lund and her boyfriend admiring the work...
and chatting with Asa Ayers

Sean Twiddy, April Dukes and her son and boyfriend.

Aaron Jackson admiring Bekir's work.
And, fellow SCAD MFA grads and candidates who came to support Bekir...
LtoR: Solongo Monkhooroi, Sean Twiddy, Sandee Chamberlain, Bekir, Yina Hyder, Aaron Jackson, Asa Ayers, Duncan Smith, April Dukes.

Congratulations on a wonderful show, Bekir!

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