If you’ve seen anything from us lately, it’s quite possibly Zehra Çobanlı’s Tulip Time installation.
Look familiar? If you haven’t seen it in person in the Mallin Gallery, you’ve likely been privy to it’s image from our multitude of Facebook posts, Instagram photos, emails, etc. in regards to the Islamic Exchange exhibition. Through the process of unpacking (12 hours), installing (4 hours), and exhibiting (1 month) these 836 pieces, we have become quite familiar with it.
Tulips’ expanding spiral form re-cements our attraction to the multiple. Exposing each individual piece in unpacking was a joy to discover due to their inherent individual beauty. But though Çobanlı’s individual tulip forms exist well on a singular level, they flourish in the whole of the installation and gain strength within their historic contexts, as all individuals are want to do.
Coming out of Çobanlı’s blue series, Tulip Time evolves from traditional Turkish ceramics. Çobanlı’s process imitates Cini, or Iznik pottery from the late 16th century, where the blue and white floral motif came from the imitation of the highly prized Chinese porcelain. But for her, the blue color represents “freedom, sky, romantism, the oceans and the soul.” So while Çobanlı’s blue series is an exercise in the “traditional and the local,” she makes it her own with Turkish calligraphy and re-invented feminine forms.
Zehra Çobanlı will be at the Kansas City International Residency at the Artists Coalition for a month October 20 – November 20.
On Saturday, November 9 join her for an Artist’s Gallery Walk at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, 1:30-2:30 p.m. meet in Bloch Lobby. See you there.