“It’s not exactly street art, what we do,” say Kadir Celik and Furkan Akhan, two young painters who were assigned to paint the classic onto a set of stairs in the Beyoglu district.

Two young artists and their assistant have almost completed reproducing famed Ottoman artist Osman Hamdi Bey’s ‘Woman with Mimosas’ (1906) painting on the stairs of Enli Yokusu (Enli Hill).

Furkan Akhan and Kadir Celik, two painters who have been tasked by their alma mater, Mimar Sinan Guzel Sanatlar Universitesi (Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University - MSGSU) and the Beyoglu Municipality, have begun their collaboration on September 19, 2020, after months of preparation.

“We have been preparing for this project for about three-four months,” Kadir Celik tells TRT World on the phone. “The stairs had to be repaired, we had to make our plans with the university, the municipality…”

The pair are assisted by Serdar Cakmak, who is currently a student at MSGSU. Akhan and Celik say they had to prepare a portfolio to apply to the project, and that they included other painters in addition to Osman Hamdi Bey.

“In the end, Osman Hamdi Bey was selected by the university and the municipality, and we set out to work,” Celik says. “Osman Hamdi Bey’s original painting is right across the street, in the Painting and Sculpture Museum,” he notes.

“We are about 70 percent done with the painting, and once we complete it, there will be a protective coat applied to make the artwork last.”

“We’ve had to stop due to the rain, but we will pick up where we left off soon,” Akhan adds.

“The process to prepare for the project was quite lengthy; perhaps in the future it could be simplified?” Celik voices his hopes. The duo, who are housemates on Istanbul's Asian side and share a studio on the European side, in Cihangir, say that they’ve received more offers of such projects by the school, by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (IBB), and by the private sector.

They say that the steps they have painted have become more popular, where people spend more time than before, and ask for more such artwork.

The artists Furkan Akhan (L) and Kadir Celik sitting on their work in progress.
The artists Furkan Akhan (L) and Kadir Celik sitting on their work in progress. (Courtesy of Furkan Akhan and Kadir Celik)

“We sought an answer to the question ‘How can we make the stairs in our municipality, new or old, combined with art, more beautiful?’”  the mayor of Beyoglu, Haydar Ali Yildiz, tells TRT World in an emailed statement.

“After a long thought process and a feasibility study, we collaborated with the Mimar Sinan Guzel Sanatlar Universitesi (MSGSU) and decided to start our project on Enli Yokus (Enli Hill) right next to the university,” Yildiz continues.

“Enli Yokus is receiving its final touches these days, and displays the ‘Woman with Mimosas’ by Osman Hamdi Bey, who is the founder of Mimar Sinan University,” Yildiz notes, thanking the three young men for their efforts of bringing the artwork to life on the stairs.

According to Yildiz, the Beyoglu municipality “is proud to pioneer such a project” and will continue to collaborate with many other institutions and paint stairs in the municipality, to make them prettier.

Source: TRT World