In this issue Nur Shkembi introduces us to the world of
Contemporary Turkish Miniature Art.
FEATURED ARTIST: Gulay
miniature artist, Gulay Pelin,
is recognised as one
of Australia’s most unique miniature artists. Through her contemporary
draws on the rich symbolism of the traditional miniature, the time-honoured
techniques of paper marbling (ebru) and the illumination or gilding
techniques of the Ottoman style 'tezhip'. By fusing traditional and
contemporary styles of miniature art, the viewer is captivated and drawn into
award-winning Sydney artist has a BA degree with 1st class Honors in Manuscript
Arts from Dokuz Eylul University, Turkey. Traditional Turkish motifs and Ottoman
Calligraphy inspire her use of rich colours and gold leaf; her contemporary
miniatures are exhibited both locally and internationally. Recently Pelin was
selected as the feature artist at the 2011 'International Miniature and
Illumination Festival' in Algeria.
find out more about Gulay Pelin's work visit:
“From Vav to Alif” 2009 (30 x 30cm)
describes this work as the story of our natural life cycle through the visual
beauty of calligraphy and pattern. Vav is used here in the Sufi tradition
of representing birth (through the human embryo) while the letter Alif
signifies the seemingly rigid appearance of our physical death. These symbolic
meanings are embedded within the beauty of traditional-style Arabic
calligraphy; the viewer is invited to contemplate our mortal existence through
this spiritually informed and visually engaging work.
2008 (29 x 35cm)
migrated from Turkey to Sydney, Australia in 2002. Like most immigrants, she
wanted to find a 'place' in her new homeland. Her sense of finally belonging is depicted in her detailed
contemporary-styled miniature Sydney and we are
able to enjoy a 'bird's eye view' of the newly embraced, intimate space of
“Rise of the Simurgh”
2010 (28 x 34cm)
elegant hand-marbled (ebru) work is cleverly layered with powerful
imagery stemming from the artist’s Turkish heritage. An outline of the famous
Sultan Ahmet (Blue Mosque) in Istanbul and a beautifully imposing tulip are
entwined with an interpretation of the simrugh
(also known as the “30 birds”, or an “ascending mystical eagle-like
creature”). The simurgh is often
referred to in mythological tales throughout the Middle East, Iran and Turkey.
Since her arrival in
Australia, Pelin has been drawn to reading and learning about the Aboriginal
Dream Time. Many Indigenous Australians refer to the time of 'Creation' as
'The Dreaming'. This miniature is meant as a tribute to the Aboriginal Dream
Time as well as a celebration of the wonderment of storytelling and aspects of
Pelin’s past life.
Nur Shkembi is a Melbourne-based contemporary artist and Arts Officer
at the Islamic Council of Victoria.