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Providing an open space for art – Kulturakademie Tarabya in Berlin

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and TarabyaAlumni Youssef Tabti at the opening of the Studio Bosporus showcase of Kulturakademie Tarabya in Berlin

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and TarabyaAlumni Youssef Tabti at the opening of the Studio Bosporus showcase of Kulturakademie Tarabya in Berlin, © photothek.net

23.11.2018 - Article

For the first time, alumni of the Istanbul‑based Kulturakademie Tarabya presented their works of art in Berlin. Foreign Minister Heiko Maas opened the showcase at Hamburger Bahnhof on 21 November.

At the Studio Bosporus showcase, Kulturakademie Tarabya presented the works of 27 of its fellows. These included literature readings, pieces of visual art, sound installations and performances, as well as pieces of music and films. In his opening address, Foreign Minister Maas highlighted the close ties between Turkish and German citizens. He also expressed growing concern about restrictions on artistic freedom in Turkey:

Art must be allowed to be political. We must exercise tolerance when works of art have a disconcerting impact – for instance when they draw attention to abuses that some would prefer to hush up.

Kunst muss politisch sein dürfen. Wir müssen aushalten, wenn Kunst irritiert - etwa, indem sie die Aufmerksamkeit auf Missstände lenkt, zu denen manche gerne schweigen würden.

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas at the opening of the Studio Bosporus showcase of Kulturakademie Tarabya in Berlin
Foreign Minister Heiko Maas at the opening of the Studio Bosporus showcase of Kulturakademie Tarabya in Berlin© photothek.net

Maintaining open spaces for art

The Federal Foreign Office supports actors from the worlds of academia and art who are facing restrictions on their freedom. It does so by promoting various efforts, including the Philipp Schwartz Initiative and the Martin Roth Initiative. Foreign Minister Maas also used his speech to remind his audience that Osman Kavala, Administrative Board Chairman of Anadolu Kültür, remains in custody and that the movements of Kavala’s colleague Asena Günal are restricted. Because of a travel ban, the latter had to cancel her participation in the Studio Bosporus showcase on short notice.

Kulturakademie Tarabya

Kulturakademie Tarabya was established in Istanbul by the Federal Foreign Office in 2011, following a decision by the German Bundestag. The residency programme is intended to promote exchange between German and Turkish artists. German artists and German-Turkish teams are awarded interdisciplinary fellowships on an annual basis for this purpose. During their residencies in Istanbul, which last several months, the fellows live and work on the grounds of the former summer home of the German Ambassador. The Kulturakademie is run by the German Embassy in Ankara, and the Goethe‑Institut has curatorial responsibility for the project.

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