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About The NHK Collection

The Nahit & Huma Kabakci Collection (NHK Collection) comprises over 900 works featuring contributions from over 200 artists representing diverse artists on a global scale.

Thoughtfully collected since the 1980s, the intergenerational collection is one of the most important examples of consciously created and well-sustained collections in Turkey.

The NHK Collection represents the combined effort of father (Nahit) and daughter (Huma) Kabakci’s ambitions and interest in sustaining artistic output in the region and creating cross-cultural references further afield.

The inherited responsibility has allowed Huma to expand on the subject, making it relevant to her curatorial interests and experiences. The collection’s unique nature comes from its ability to place artists alongside one another that might not otherwise be in conversation and, through doing so, create cross–cultural exchanges.

The collection is a testament to the richness of cross-cultural dialogues, reflecting the interconnectedness of artistic expressions and the evolving tapestry of cultural identity.

The collection reflects themes such as diaspora, translocality, grief, and identity politics and allows dialogues between works irrespective of geography, culture or religion, and in doing, comments on the unifying ability of art as a medium.

In 2024, the collection name changed to NHK Collection to emphasise the intergenerationality and the role of Huma as a carer to the collection.

“I am not afraid of going blind, but rather of never being able to see paintings again.”



Nahit Kabakcı was born on 22 March 1949 in İstanbul. He completed his primary education at Şişli Terakki High School. He entered the German High School in 1960 and graduated in 1968. After high school, Kabakcı went to Germany for college. In 1978, he graduated from the Darmstadt Technical University as an industrial engineer. He was involved in construction business in Turkey and Azerbaijan as of 1980 and 1990, respectively. As of the 1990’s, Azerbaijan became a significant place in his life both in terms of business and his endeavours in the art world. He was one of the first Turkish businessmen to expand into Azerbaijan, where he started to spend most of his time during 2000’s. He brought note-worthy construction projects to life in Azerbaijan. The individuals and institutions he encountered during that time set an important groundwork for his ventures into collecting and gallery ownership.

His first professional relationship with art began when he partnered with Ümit Yaşar Art Gallery. After their one-year partnership, Nahit Kabakcı founded Ramko Art Gallery in 1986. In 1990 Kabakcı organised a competition entitled “Contemporary Turkish Painting” where he invited internationally renowned professionals to form a jury. The international jury of the Ramko competition included the following members: Jan Hoet (Belgium; Gent Contemporary Art Museum Director), Dieter Ronte (Germany; Hannover Sprengel Museum Director), Bruno Mantura (Italy; Rome Contemporary Art Gallery Deputy Director). In 1996 from being a gallery owner, Kabakcı decided to dedicate his life to collecting instead. In the first couple of years of collecting, he decided to collect artworks from Turkey, Russia, and Azerbaijan. Over the years, he also started collecting artworks from neighbouring and Balkan countries such as; Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, and Bulgaria. Between 3-15 February 2002 Nahit Kabakcı opened the first exhibition of his collection titled “Contemporary Azerbaijani, Russian, and Turkish Painting and Sculpture” at the Naval Museum of Istanbul.

Following this exhibition, he also realised a collection exhibition in Ataturk Cultural Centre between 5-22 November 2003 and another one in 2008 during Tuyap Art Fair and Convention Centre. During the exhibition titled “Huma Kabakci Collection 1950-2008” at Tuyap between 1-9 November 2008, he was presented with “Tuyap Art Fair Honorary Collector’s Award” due to his contributions to Turkish art through his collection. With the three cities (Essen in the Ruhr region of Germany, Pecs in Hungary, and Istanbul) as the “2010 European Capitals of Culture” was a tremendous source for Kabakcı and this created a great opportunity for him to achieve his mission of introducing Turkish modern and contemporary art abroad. Despite the fact that Nahit Kabakcı had planned three museum exhibitions in Ruhr, Germany, and Pecs, Hungary due to his untimely death his daughter continued the preparations and maintained the relations.


As a second generation to the collection, Huma Kabakcı (b. London, 1990) is a Turkish-British curator and former founding director of Open Space, living and working in London. Kabakcı worked at the Drawing Room as a Development Manager between 2021-2022 and continues with fundraising and strategic advising working freelance. She graduated with her BA in Advertising and Marketing at the London College of Communication and completed her MA & MPhil degrees in Curating Contemporary Art at the Royal College of Art, London.

Kabakcı has worked at commercial galleries, biennials, museums and auction houses, both in the UK and Turkey, in many different capacities. Open Space has collaborated with institutions such as Block Universe Performance Festival, Delfina Foundation, Fiorucci Art Trust, Flat Time House and IKSV (Istanbul Biennial Foundation).

Kabakcı’s curatorial interest lies in creating immersive experiences and a wider dialogue in collaboration with multidisciplinary practitioners. Her key areas of interest and knowledge focus on diaspora, gender & identity politics, food as a medium and hospitality.

You can see more of Huma’s curatorial and professional projects here.

Huma Kabakcı photo by Korhan Karaoysal

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