A homeland immigrant Featured

Artist Åžeyda Cesur incorporates everyday materials into her autobiographically-inspired artworks



10 June 2013

Antalya-born Åžeyda Cesur’s interest in painting began at an early age. It became a great passion of her life, adapting her imaginary world, nurtured principally by the books she read, into colour and line. Due to the nature of her art, Åžeyda Cesur prefers to call herself a designer rather than a painter. “People often think of oil painting when I say that I’m a painter, but I’m a designer. When 3D is involved in the work, it gets further away from painting.”

After moving to Istanbul in 1993, Cesur studied at Marmara University’s Fine Arts department. Upon graduation, she exhibited her works in group shows in Turkey and abroad, mainly focusing on communication and the lack of it, as well as migration and diaries in her works. Her first solo exhibition was held at Sabancı University's Kasa Gallery. Ä°p Oyunları (String Games), her first exhibition, became one of Turkey’s first conceptual and interactive exhibitions. After her brother died in a car accident in 1996, the artist incorporated her memories of him in works featuring string games, a childhood game that represented their bond. “In this exhibition, I placed strings next to my paintings. Everybody knows how to play string games, and they just start playing. I realized that this is what real communication is.”

The artist’s works with kaftan figures attract a lot of attention. She uses handmade paper, strings, transfer paper, and other materials. These kaftan paintings can be bought as single pieces, or as large modular units of ten. The artist also designs decorative objects, using materials such as children’s used folding screens or old boxes. Cesur created her stick-man paintings during a time when she said she felt lonely and anti-social amidst Istanbul’s chaos. The stick men in her works don’t fight; on the contrary, they hold hands. The artist communicates the individualistic nature of today’s world, and suggests that love is the only thing that can save us from it.

One of the artist’s latest works is a 120-metre painting. The artist focused on the concept of time and aimed to bring moments that have long been lost or forgotten back to life. Cesur describes herself and the painting as follows: “An artist interrupts the monotony of daily life. In this work, I adapted my impressions of daily life and popular themes into art. I started out with the intention of eliminating the boundary between life and art.” The painting, which is about the artist’s beloved Istanbul, is sort of a peace treaty with the loss and loneliness that she experienced when she first moved to Istanbul.

Cesur makes works for hotels and restaurants in addition to galleries. Her works can be seen in her atelier in Nişantaşı, the Istanbul Edition Hotel, and Cento Per Cento in Nişantaşı.

Åžeyda Cesur Atelier
Visits by appointment only. Please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.