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Istanbul 2010 rejected; Ruhr 2010 and Pecs 2010 embraced – Cumhuriyet

By Friday June 11th, 2010April 28th, 2021No Comments

Huma Kabakci Collection in three languages

Istanbul: European Capital of Culture 2010
Istanbul is my city which has surrendered itself to rainfalls with its brooks overflowing; its roads congested; its houses flooded; its life paralyzed; its schools closed due to rainfall, its people submerging and dying… “That is your capital of culture in 2010!” whenever I look at the writings and photos, I feel ashamed; I really wonder whether the people governing this city feel ashamed or not. Aren’t the people who host the Asian leaders in Çırağan Palace ashamed?

I pitched into a huge book which showed up by mail on one of these rainy days and added smile, pain, irony, jealousy then laughing aloud, admiration, pleasure of the memories, love, joy and respect into my shame… A marvelous large format book with 280 pages. The name of this catalogue-book is “Huma Kabakci Collection.”

You’ll remember. Nahit Kabakci, who passed away at the end of the last year, was an art collector and named his unique collection after his daughter, the being he loved the most. With his separation, this treasure has been entrusted to Huma…


I turn the pages of the book: a section from the adventure belonging to last 60 years of Turkish painting, sculpture and photography… 141 works of art from 56 artists… There is Erinç Seymen’s work “İsimsiz/Untitled” on the front cover. One of Ardan Özmenoğlu’s works is on the back cover. The book has been published in three languages, Turkish, English and German by “Editions Braus” (Berlin). The book has fully reached perfection with its paper quality, colour separation and printing technique … Since the selected items from “Huma Kabakci Collection” are exhibited in three cities of Europe in 2010, this book has been published… Two of these museums are in Germany; one is in Hungary.

Remember that: three cities or regions have been selected as European Capital of Culture. These are Istanbul, Pecs and Essen-Ruhr. Ruhr 2010 and Pecs 2010 have included the exhibitions consisting of Huma Kabakci Collection in their official programmes. But Istanbul 2010 has rejected the proposal of exhibition. Alas! My poor country full of contradictions; my country stabbing itself in the back and shooting itself every time!

The three exhibitions in Europe: Hagen Osthaus Museum in Germany (the exhibition which was opened on 9th of May 2010 will be closed on 25th of June.), Goslar Monchehaus Museum (the exhibition date: 8th of August- 19th of September 2010) and Pecs International Modern Hungarian Gallery (8th of October- 22nd of November 2010) in Hungary .

There are the signatures of three directors of three Institutions in the preface of the book. They draw attention to two points in their joint essay: one is the extraordinary attraction of the exhibition with a wide range and the other is Nahit Kabakci’s art of collecting… The fact that Nahit Kabakci gives importance to the young artists is especially emphasized.

“This expansion of the collection towards younger artists is sustained by Huma, his daughter, as well. We expect the development of the collection for the future with pleasure.” (So do I, so do I with pleasure and curiosity…)


Tayfun Belgin’s comprehensive essay titled as “Türklerin Yolu-İslami Kitap Resimlerinden Günümüzün Resim Sanatına/ The Turkish Way- From The Paintings of Islamic Books to Present Art of Painting” is in the nature of a lesson on our history of painting from the beginning to now…

A selection ranging from Fikret Mualla, Sabri Berkel, Cihat Burak, Aliye Berger, Abidin Dino, Nuri İyem and Erol Akyavaş to Sarkis, Yüksel Arslan, Azade Köker, Selma Gürbüz and to Burcu Perçin, Güçlü Öztekin, Hayal İncedoğan and further…

Ara Güler’s photos have an important place in the collection and exhibition. Bettina Ruhrberg, the director of Goslar Monchehaus Museum says the following in her essay titled as “İstanbul’un İç Gözü/ Inner Eye of Istanbul” by quoting “İstanbul’u Dinliyorum gözlerim kapalı/ I’m listening to Istanbul with my eyes closed” , Orhan Veli’s poem:

“Some of Ara Güler’s photos are like visualization of the inner eye gaining voice in the declaration of love/expression of respect for Istanbul by the Turkish poet…”

There is also Huma Kabakci’s essay touching my heart in the catalogue book. An essay beginning as “My father, Nahit Kabakçı wasn’t only a father full of love, a loyal and faithful person and a great businessman but also he was an art collector with a unique vision. He used to believe that a collection should be transferred at least for four generations.” and going on with her awareness of her responsibility. “What I should undertake as a task now is that my father’s all efforts and attempts for creating a collection to be accepted by Capitals of Culture 2010 wouldn’t be wasted.”

After I say “We already see that they aren’t wasted”, I wish power, courage and patience for young Huma Kabakci in that “relay race” and marathon; I congratulate firstly Ruhr 2010 and Pecs 2010 and everyone contributing to the exhibitions and catalogue.

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