Iconic Istanbul-Greek school hosts exhibition on 'queen of cities'

Thu, 18 May 2023 7:08 GMT
Cherished Istanbul exhibit to be open to visitors at Galata Greek School until Nov. 12.
Iconic Istanbul-Greek school hosts exhibition on 'queen of cities'

An iconic Istanbul-Greek school reopened with an exhibition on the history of the "queen of cities" on Wednesday following the historic building’s restoration.

Titled the Cherished Istanbul, the exhibit is organized by the Athens-based Athanasios and Marina Martinos Foundation (AMMF) and the Istanbul-based Vehbi Koc Foundation’s Sadberk Hanim Museum (VKV) at Galata Greek Primary School in Istanbul’s historic Karakoy neighborhood on the European side.

Curated by Fani-Maria Tsigakou and Hulya Bilgi, the exhibit features Istanbul-themed paintings from AMMF collections as well as a selection of church items from VKV.

Speaking at the opening event, Meri Komorosano, chairman of the Galata Greek Primary School Foundation, said the school's educational activities were suspended in 1988, and the building was returned to the Istanbul-Greek community in 2012.

Noting that the building has hosted several cultural events since then, Komorosano said: “Now, (the building) aims to operate as a culture, art, and education center that embraces all of Istanbul by incorporating many different cultural identities and accumulations, especially the Greek identity and cultural heritage.

“Our building, which was restored by architect Murat Tabanlioglu with the support of the Athanasios and Marina Martinos Foundation, is opening its doors again.”

For her part, a spokesperson for the AMMF, Tsigakou said the artworks, created by artists who have come to Istanbul, keep the memory of that period alive while depicting scenes from real life.

Hulya Bilgi, director of Sadberk Hanım Museum, said their contribution to the exhibition is made up of silver and nacre works from the museum's collection that was produced for churches in Istanbul workshops in the 18th and 19th centuries.

There are 34 works by artists such as Amadeo Preziosi, Joseph Schranz, Michel-Francois Preault, Clara Barthold Mayer, Louis Lottier, Anton Ignaz Melling, Louis-Francois Cassas, Thomas Allom, Alfred-Marie-Joseph de Courville, Antoine-Laurent Castellan, Konstantin Kapıdagli.

Most of the artworks on display were created by artists who lived in Istanbul from the early 19th century until its last quarter, with the exception of two rare panorama paintings from the 17th century.

The exhibition will be open to visitors until Nov. 12.

The 19th-century building has become an important venue for several contemporary art exhibitions in Istanbul since 2012.


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