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Ebru: Reflections of Cultural Diversity in Turkey, Attila Durak
Metis Nonfiction
Visual Arts
28.5 x 31.0 cm, 446 pp
ISBN No. 978-975-342-572-8

Prints:
1st Print: June 2007
Attila Durak
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About the Author
Attila Durak was born in Gümüşhane, Turkey in 1967, and graduated from the Middle East Technical University with a BA degree in economics. He pursued his interest in photography while working for NCR and Leo Burnett. After managing the well-known Eylül Jazz Club in Istanbul, he moved to New York City in 1996, and attended the School of Visual Arts, the Fine Arts Department of Hunter College and several workshops at the International Center of Photography.
       Attila Durak, whose works have been published in several magazines, newspapers, and catalogs, worked on a number of documentation projects in Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Greece, Spain, Hungary, England, Peru, Canada, and the United States.
       Although Durak’s main interest lies in documentary photography, he has also been captivated by the creative opportunities that experimental photography offers. His interest in experimenting with color and various printing techniques resulted in Echoes of the Street, a series on the street artists of New York City. Echoes of the Street was exhibited at Duggal Underground Gallery (2000, New York, NY), Gallery Artist (2003, Istanbul), Siyah Beyaz Art Center (2005, Ankara), Gallery Orkun & Ozan (2005, Antalya) and Jazz Now Gallery & Art Center (2006, Bodrum). His other solo exhibitions include Ankara in the Past (1990, Ankara) and Creating Imperfection (2000, Dallas, TX).
       Durak also participated in a number of group shows including Xtreme Xteriors presented by Gallery X (1999, New York, NY); Untitled Group Show in the International Independent Film & Video Festival (1999, New York, NY); Untitled Group Show (1999, Dallas, TX); Europe Day 2004 - Celebrating EU Enlargement through Art, Benefiting Adopt-A-Minefield organized by the European Commission’s Delegation to the United Nations (2004, New York, NY); and 2005 Collection at Istanbul Photography Center (Istanbul, 2005).
       Between 2000-2007, Attila Durak worked on his first book project, Ebru: Reflections of Cultural Diversity in Turkey. Ebru's photographs will be exhibited at Binbirdirek Cistern (Philoxenus) in Istanbul, Turkey between June 19 - July 9, 2007. Attila Durak lives in New York City and Istanbul.
Attila Durak
Ebru
Reflections of Cultural Diversity in Turkey

Ebru: Kültürel Çeşitlilik Üzerine Yansımalar

Contents
Excerpt
Over seven years in the making, Ebru is a sweeping and poignant photographic journey that illuminates, through the faces of its people, the rich cultural diversity of Turkey.
       The English translation of “ebru” is “marbled paper,” which refers to the fluidity of paint and water on paper. With its creative combination of water and paper, “ebru” inspires the possibility of conceptualizing historical flow and “passing solidity” at the same time. As such, it is a metaphor that offers a promising alternative to others like “the mosaic”or “the quilt” for thinking through the new and old dilemmas of cultural politics at the turn of the century.
       Attila Durak’s visual portraits are rendered even more dramatic through John Berger’s foreword and interpretive essays from some of Turkey’s most discerning contemporary writers. Because of this exceptional artistic pairing, Ebru provides rare insight into the vibrant color, complexity, as well as political nuance, of a country defined and sustained by its multicultural past and present.
CONTENTS
Artist’s Statement, Attila Durak
A Face Is..., John Berger
Ebru: Reflections on Water, Ayşe Gül Altınay
Ebru: The Story of a Journey, Attila Durak
Ebruesque Turkey, Sezen Aksu
The Semah of the Cranes, Zeynep Türkyılmaz
Deq, Şeyhmus Diken
Beauty and Truth, Leyla Neyzi
Hybrid Lives, Assumed Identities, Fethiye Çetin
A Fluidity of Identities, Alan Duben
Tranquility in Motion, Akif Kurtuluş
The Identity Politics of Cuisine, Musa Dağdeviren
I Belong..., Takuhi Tovmasyan Zaman
E, Elif Şafak
Watching and Being Watched, Ayşe Erzan
Family Albums and Melancholy, Ayşe Öncü
Why Don’t We Have a Village?, Nebahat Akkoç
My Father’s Story, Ara Güler
We Are Rich in Our Diversity, Ahmet Tosun Terzioğlu
The Colors of Turkey, İshak Alaton
Coincidence and Willpower, Herkül Millas
Turkish, But at the Same Time Laz, Ruşen Çakır
The Novel of a Roma, Aydın Elbasan
"this is me” and “come on, altogether!”, Feryal Öney (Songs of Fraternity)
The Mosaic and the Melting Pot, Murat Belge
EXCERPT
Artist’s Statement
Attila Durak


I was born in Gümüşhane, which, like many cities in Anatolia, is located in a region that bears the traces of many cultures. The town got its name from the mine in the “old city,” which produced the silver used in Ottoman coins. When I was a child, the “old city” looked like a ghost town. It was hard to imagine that its streets were once filled with the sounds of Armenian tinsmiths swinging their hammers and Greek shopkeepers opening up their stores. Aided by the boundless imaginations of childhood, we played on the deserted streets, reveling in the “ghostly” haunts left to us by a once vibrant community. Of all our games, the most thrilling one was to throw stones at the old churches, most of which were in ruins and left abandoned to their fates. The stone that hit and broke the last stained glass window of one such church was launched from my own hand. I was nine years old.
       On a July night in 1993, as I was listening to the news on television, I heard that a mob of people had surrounded the Madımak Hotel in Sivas, where a number of artists and intellectuals had arrived to participate in the “Pir Sultan Abdal* Festival.” Before the night was over, 37 people had been burned to death by the mob. Each name that the news anchor read, in a clear voice detached from all emotion, left a deep mark in my soul. I was 26 years old.
       Looking back, these are the two most significant experiences that led me to spend a considerable part of my life on Ebru, a project of wary beginnings and a dubious future, as well as the deep passion that compelled me to complete it.
       I have always been curious about the personal histories of the people that I photograph. Portraiture can document individual and social experiences, and beckon its viewers to ponder the subjects’ stories. It is the people behind the images that have propelled me to travel to different places, meet people living in a variety of social conditions, tell their stories through my photographs, and give their life histories longevity, if not permanence. This was another motivation in pursuing Ebru.
       “Portraits from Turkey” have been the subject of many good photography projects. Therefore, I knew Ebru would not be an easy task to undertake. I wanted to tell a different story than the ones that had already been told—a story in which the images, when put together, would constitute the sentences and paragraphs. The answer to my search—my creative path— was given to me by the subjects I photographed at the beginning of my journey. This story would be about the current colors of Turkey—together with the lost hues, and those that are being added. This testimony could only be uncovered and brought forth in these images through the participation of its subjects, who shared their daily lives with the photographer. I wanted to tell a story that would be about “today,” yet would also reflect the sorrows of yesterday and the hopes for tomorrow... Click for more