Home to an acclaimed biennial and several world class galleries, Turkey has long nurtured a strong contemporary art scene, influenced as much by modern Turkish politics and Society as by the country’s Ottoman past. Its diverse range of artists reflects the sometimes contradictory positions of Turkey itself, cast as the gateway to both Europe and Asia. 


Yashar Kemal is one of the Turkish leading writers. He was the candidate for the Nobel Prize in Literature with Memed, The Hawk.

Novelist Orhan Pamuk’s books have been translated into 58 languages, including Georgian, Malayan, Czech, Danish, Japanese, Catalan, as well as English, German and French. In 2006, TIME magazine chose him as one of the 100 most influential persons of the world. In September 2006, he won the Le Prix Méditerranée étranger for his novel Snow. Pamuk is an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and holds an honorary doctorate from Tilburg University. He is an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters as well as the Chinese Academy for Social Sciences. Pamuk gives lectures once a year at Columbia University. He also received the 2006 Nobel Prize for Literature, becoming the second youngest person to receive the award in its history.

Elif Shafak is saying “My writing thrives upon journeys and commutes between cultures and cities. I believe in the power of literature to transcend all sorts of mental ghettoes and boundaries -be it national, religious, class or gender boundaries.” She is another award winning writer. Her books have been translated into more than 30 languages.  “Forty Rules of Love”  was published in USA in 2010. Selling more than 600.000 copies it became a record best-seller in Turkey.


Turkish contemporary art is not a long story but there is a long history behind. Anantolian Civilisations are the roots of artistic developments.

It was only in the 19th century that a Turkish painting movement in the Western sense occurred, with the founding by Osman Hamdi Bey of the Academy of Fine Arts (now the Mimar Sinan University School of Fine Arts). The Sultans began to bring foreign painters, mostly Italian or French, to live as court painters, and Turkish painters were sent abroad to learn from European masters. Among the best known of the early Ottoman painters are Osman Hamdi Bey, Seker Ahmet Pasha, Hoca Ali Riza, Sevket Dag, Ahmet Ziya and Halil Pasha. They were primarily landscape painters, with few portraits. In 1919, the Ottoman Society of Painters held their first exhibition in Galatasaray.

Following the war, impressionism was a major influence on Turkish painters. The most successful impressionist painter was Halil Pasha. Painting continued to develop through the thirties and forties, with increased emphasis on design and subject matter. The abstract and cubist movements were popular in Turkey, and the best known painters in this genre are Sabri Berkel, Halil Dikmen, Cemal Bingol and Semsettin Arel. Today’s Turkish artists, such as Mr. Bedri Baykam, Ms. Jale Yılmabaşar and Mrs. İrem Senemoğlu are no longer bound by their past, in subject or design. A wide range of techniques and approaches are being used by the many artists at work today. There is an ever-increasing number of art galleries showcasing these young talents, with regular exhibitions of new work.

ISTANBUL biennial, has a growing international reputation. It became an important event among all art events in the world.



Atli Kosk Open 10 am to 6 pm – Closed on Mon
(closes at 10 pm on Wed and Sat)

Sadberk Hanim Museum Open 10 am to 5 pm – Closed on Wed

Pera Museum Open 10 am to 7 pm – Sun from noon to 6 pm

Istanbul Modern Open 10 am to 6 pm – Closed on Mon
(Free on Thu 10 am to 2 pm)

Dogancay Museum Open 10 am to 6 pm (open everyday)


Turkish movie directors confirmed their standing as one of the most interesting directors in the world by winning important prizes. Fatih Akın, the German- born Turkish director made a big success at home by winning the Golden Bear at Berlin with “Head-On,” which had a pornography actress, Sibel Kekilli as its lead. Then his documentary “Crossing the Bridge,” an odyssey through Istanbul’s diverse musical subcultures, opened a window on the world from which the band Baba Zula, the Arabesque legend Orhan Gencebay and artists like Mercan Dede (Canadian-Turkish musician) and the percussionist Burhan Ocal and the famous legendary singer Sezen Aksu.

Nuri Bilge Ceylan is also a well known director after his success at Cannes Film Festival.

Elia Kazan, Sinan Çetin, Yavuz Turgul, Ezel Akay, Tunç Başaran are the other important names.


ISTANBUL (Contemporary Art)

Istanbul Modern Art Museum
Bakraç Art Galley
Harmony Art Gallery
Hobi Art Gallery
Pera Art Gallery
Kare Art Gallery
Galeri Artist
Elgiz Art Gallery
C.A.M Art Gallery
Almelek Art Gallery
Sabancı Museum and Art

ANKARA (Contemporary Art)

Ankara Art Gallery
Armoni Art Gallery
Krisna Art

IZMIR (Contemporary Art)

Turkish American Association
Adnan Franko Art Gallery
French Cultural Center
Ahmet Adnan Saygun Art Ctr

Some of Turkey’s Contemporary Masters

Cemal Tollu, Hakkı Anlı, Sabri Berkel, Abidin Dino, Cihat Burak, Adnan Varınca, Mürşide İçmeli, Ömer Kaleşi, Nevin İşlek, Güngör İblikçi, Metin Talayman, Oktay Anılanmert, Seyyit Bozdoğan, Beril Anılanmert, Mithat Şen, Hale Sontaş, Mehmet Güler, Mustafa Altıntaş, Zeki Fındıkoğlu, Hüseyin Ertunç, Fevzi Karakoç, Abdulkadir Öztürk, Fuat Acaroğlu, Gülden Artun, Nur Özalp, Gürbüz Doğan Ekşioğlu, Talat Enlil, Selma Gürbüz, Gürhan Yücel, Devabil Kara, Bilgehan Uzuner, Özlem Özkan, Bedri Baykam.



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