and Activities of Sanart
The title Sanart
is made up of the words SANAT which means ART in Turkish, and the
word ART in English.The Sanart Association was founded in 1991 as
Sanart Association for the Promotion of Visual Art in Turkey,
on the initiative of Benoit Junod, the First Secretary of the Swiss
Embassy at that time. It held its first International Symposium
in 1992 on the theme Identity, Marginality, Space with
the participation of artists, architects, curators, critics and
scholars from various fields and from more than twenty countries.
The exhibitions included a Cobra exhibition which was brought with
the support of the Danish, Dutch, and Belgian Embassies in Ankara,
a Wölfli exhibiton which was made possible by the Swiss Embassy,
an exhibition of contemporary British artists which was made possible
by the British Council and a photography exhibition of Evgen Bavcar.
Architects such as Mario Botta, Hans Hollein and Raj Rewal were
guests who presented their works to the Ankara community. Other
noteworthy events were the Earth and Fiber exhibition
which brought together ceramics and textile artists from all over
the world and a painting exhibition of artists from Southern America
which was made possible with the support and cooperation of Jorge
The first international
symposia organised by Sanart took place in 1995 on the theme of
Art and Taboo in 1997 on Art and Environment,
in 2000 on Art and Science and in 2002 on Art and
Engagement. These events brought together
hundreds of international artists and scholars from all corners
of the world and were followed by an audience between 400 and 500
students and professionals each time. The first two symposia were
also followed up by publications of proceedings and of catalogs
of the exhibitions. Each Sanart program included workshops
and open space events which could actively involve residents of
Ankara and university students.
and Taboo symposium was housed at the Scientific and Technical
Research Council of Turkey while the activities of Art and
Environment in 1997 took place at the Middle East Technical
University, and the building of the Faculty of Architecture was
the exhibition ground for many different artistic performances and
In 2000 The
International Symposium and art events centered around the theme
Art and Science as it was thought that the 3rd Millenium would
be a time when once again art and science would have to cooperate.
One of the major themes was electro-magnetic technologies and the
computer and how these influenced art. Ali Alpar the renowned Turkish
physicist presented the tapes made of the sounds of different revolutions
of stars which sounded like the music of the universe; some architects
showed interesting designs that defied gravity, we heard about projects
in Saudi Arabia where the desert would be forested according to
original specimens of seeds found in the region, presenters displayed
images of virtual reality, etc.
international events take place regularly each two or two and a
half years, once a new theme is decided upon, a pre-symposium event
is usually programmed for brainstorming, for preparing Turkish intellectuals
to the theme, and for introducing the theme to the public. Conferences,
panel discussions or a days forum have usually taken place, beginning
a year ahead of the International event, and the proceedings of
these have been published ahead of the international symposium.
In 2001 the
Sanart Association decided to change its name to Sanart, Association
of Aesthetics and Visual Culture and applied for membership to the
International Association of Aesthetics. Upon its acceptance as
a constitutive member it decided to celebrate the occasion with
a smaller symposium only in English and on the subject of Aesthetics.
In June 15-16, 2001, with the cooperation of the Middle East Technical
University, an international aesthetic symposium was held with the
title, Retrospective: Aesthetics and Art in the 20th Century.
The proceedings of the symposium were edited by İpek Türeli.
The following International
Symposium held at the Middle East Technical University on May
1-3, 2002 on the theme of Art and Social Engagement was concerned
in how artists are getting involved in social welfare; some examples
were artists creating sculpture for the blind, or architects working
for derelict or earthquake areas, designers working for disabled,
museums working in lower income areas, etc. The pre-symposium animations
began during fall of 2001, both at the Middle East Technical
University and at other venues in Ankara.
Sanart organised also a summer school on Highland
Settlements and Sustainability in the spring of 2004 in Eastern
Turkey. The summer school was open to architecture students and to environmentalists
The first Turkish Congress of Aesthetics was held by Sanart in 2006, in honour of the philosopher Prof. İsmail Tunalı, who founded Aesthetics as an autonomous field of study in Turkey. The congress with the theme Aesthetics in Turkey, initially thought as a preparatory event to the XVIIth International Congress of Aesthetics, brought together scholars and artists working on aesthetics, visual arts and culture in Turkey.
Sanart Association of
Aesthetics and Visual Culture hosted XVIIth World Congress
of Aesthetics organised by International Association of Aesthetics (IAA) in Ankara, at the Middle East Technical University in 2007.
Scholars and artists interest in these two congresses showed the requirement for regular congresses of aesthetics as a platform of exchange of ideas and studies. Sanarts Second Turkish Congress of Aesthetics was held in 24-26 October 2013 with this aim. The congress organised jointly by Sanart and Mersin University Faculty of Architecture and Faculty of Fine Arts, was coordinated by Cânâ Bilsel and Nurseren Tor. This meeting which had Changing Geographies and Paradigms as the central theme, was held outside Ankara for the first time. The high interest of young scholars and artists to this meeting reaffirmed both Sanarts place and the demand for a regular Congress of Aesthetics in Turkey.
The proceedings of the Sanart symposia were published. Art and Identity (1992) was published only in Turkish translation;
Art and Taboo (1995) was published in the original languages and in Turkish.
Art and Environment (1997), Art and Science (2000) and the Proceedings of
Retrospective: Art and Aesthetics in the 20th Century were published jointly by SANART and Chamber of Architects of Turkey.
Sanart and Anatolian Culture Foundation jointly inaugurated the exhibition Witnesses to the lost past of an Armenian Family: From the lenses of Dildilian Brothers held in the Contemporary Arts Gallery of Çankaya Municipality in Ankara. The exhibition co-curated by Jale N. Erzen and Arman Marsoobian, was held between 3-23 November 2015.
All these events were
sponsored, over the years, by more than 40 private and public institutions.
Amongst many sponsors and co-organisers Sanart is proud to mention
the Turkish Ministry of Culture,Turkish Ministry of Tourism, Is Bank,
1992 Ankara Greater Municipality and mayor Karayalçın, the Çankaya
Municipality, The Kavala Group, the European Commission Representation,
the Association of Architects 1927, MESA, Metaksan, Italian Institute
of Culture, Goethe Institute, British Council, French Cultural Institute,
Swiss Embassy, Turkish Airlines, Directory of Railways, Directory
of Highways, Arçelik and Faculty of Architecture
of the Middle East Technical University, Nev Gallery, TESK, Murat
Yazıcı, Yüksel Erimtan, Ulusoy, Varan and Asya Nakliyat. Their contributions made possible bringing to Ankara high quality artistic events. The Middle East Technical University Rectors Office and the Faculty of Architecture have been regular supporters of the Sanart Association in every possible way. SANART IInd Turkish Congress of Aesthetics was organized jointly by Sanart and Mersin University Faculty of Architecture and Faculty of Fine Arts with the sponsorship of Mersin Metropolitan Municipality, Mersin Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mersin Chamber of Shipping, Mersin Union of Chamber of Artisans and Craftsmen and French Institute. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all our many sponsors, for their contributions.
Jale Erzen and Cânâ Bilsel
here to see some selected events and activities from the history
of Sanart in chronological order.
Association of Aesthethics and Visual Culture © 2002