'A corner in the world', art beyond conflict in Istanbul

Festival on Bosphorus with performances from Mideast

30 September, 19:43

    (by Cristoforo Spinella) (ANSAmed) - ISTANBUL, SEPTEMBER 30 - Culture in the Middle East is trying to move on, despite the rubble in Syria and sectarian conflicts in Iraq, as well as the shock over the failed coup in Turkey and the frail scenario in Lebanon. Despite turbulence in the Middle East, where only conflicts seem to have space, a generation of artists is trying to gain the limelight and is meeting in Istanbul to be heard and watched, beyond easy labels.

    The setting is the second edition of 'A corner in the world', the independent festival of contemporary art opening Saturday night in the Turkish city through October 12 with 20 performances across 13 locations on both sides of the Bosphorus.

    It is a multicultural event that vies to cross borders - both material and artistic ones - with performances mixing dancing and theater, music and videos, also thanks to the cooperation between different countries. Art is like a bridge to overcome physical and cultural barriers across the region - Turkey, Syria, Iran, Lebanon, Iraq, Tunisia, Armenia and Romania.

    The festival opened with the exhibition 'Unauthorized', which through videos and posters explores how Syrian artists continued to work over the years under the regime of Bashar al Assad, with initiatives almost always 'not authorized', often risking arrest and repression.

    Theater and dance performances, videos and concerts are also scheduled.

    ''This year, the theme we have chosen is 'behind the corner': the world is round and its center can be any corner, according to your point of view. We are in Istanbul to look toward our world, to imagine what is behind the corner and to tell each other about our angles'', artistic director Fatih Genckal told ANSA.

    The melting pot is a joint effort by young artists, who every day deal with obstacles in a Turkey where the space for freedom of expression is decreasing after alleged opponents were ousted after the failed coup on July 15.

    Institutional partners, including the French cultural institute, are supporting the festival, which on Thursday will host the performance 'Déplacement' by Syrian artist Mithkal Alzghair. There will then be laboratories, debates and tours to discover places like 'arthereistanbul', an area on the Asian shore which has been hosting Syrian refugees who have fled the war for months. (ANSAmed).

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