Thursday 10th April in Istanbul's most vibrant district, Beyoglu, and the always crowded Istiklal street saw the successful opening of the international contemporary and street art exhibition, Tio Ilar. This is the 7th edition of the annual showcase that was initially held in Athens, and their 2nd time touring to Istanbul, hosting artists predominantly from Greece and Turkey.
Although the majority of the artists are actively involved in their respective homeland's street art scenes, here this is not necessarily highlighted; the point is contemporary artistic expression in general, no matter what form. Curator Panos Malamis explains the idea behind Tio Ilar: “Once a seed is in harmony with the earth, it will blossom. And I try to provide the earth for seeds to blossom where seeds blossom.”
Dimitris Dokos, The friend is on vacation, 90 x 85cm, Acrylic on canvas, 2014; Courtesy of Sismanoglio Megaro of the Consulate General of Greece
In the ancient Attica dialect Tio Ilar means providing roof, protection and shelter. In the context of this exhibition it means a variety of artists under one roof where they can test their ideas in complete artistic freedom. The younger ones get their chance to exhibit along some well-known colleagues, while the already established ones prove their motivation doesn't lie only in professional ambition. Together these 15 artists create an environment of various styles all at different stages in their work. (They are: Hugo Fontela from Spain; Beyza Boynudelik, Hakan Bayer, Leyla Ersin, Pet 05, Zone from Turkey; Pietro Ruffo from Italy; Alexis Avlamis, Olga Alexopoulou, Alekos Skoutariotis, Dimitris Dokos, Kalliopi Kouklinou, Pandelis Pandelopoulos, Localize it! from Greece, and Thiemo Kloss from Germany.)
Their artworks range in media: from simple acrylic on canvas (Dimitris Dokos, Skoutariotis Alekos); or pens/pencils on paper (Alexis Avlamis); to porcelain painting digitised into diasec (Alexopoulou Olga); photopaper on aluminium (Thiemo Kloss); use of metal plates with plexiglass (Leyla Ersin); or cutouts on paper (Pietro Ruffo). When you enter, the most noticeable are the surreal patternized scarabs of Dimitris Dokos, which are seen all over Athens too. While some artworks tends to grab your attention with their size, another might surprise you with a detail. For me it was the "levitating" cutouts of Pietro Ruffo and the sweet installation of just 4 little pieces in various techniques by Localize it!
There is no financial profit behind this exhibition. Any sales go to social responsibility-related causes. The entry is of course free too, and visitors can drop by until 4th May.
Kalliopi Kouklinou, Untitled, mixed technique, 29 x 21, 2014; Courtesy of Sismanoglio Megaro of the Consulate General of Greece
The seventh edition of Tio Ilar will be in Greece in September.
For further information about previous editions, check out www.tioilar.eu.
(Image on top: Courtesy of Sismanoglio Megaro of the Consulate General of Greece)