New exhibition titled “Masterpieces of the Calligraphy Art Hilya al-Sharif” opened Nov. 1 at Istanbul’s Yıldız Palace Mabeyn Köşk and is running until Dec. 1 with a wide array of examples from the traditional art form.
“This branch of art is actually very wide,” President Abdullah Gül said during the exhibition’s opening ceremony. “We have many world-renowned artists in different branches of art. Calligraphy is one of them.”
Gül said the art of “hilya” (ornamentation) had improved in order to commemorate the Prophet Muhammad. “I see for the first time that such an exhibition is being organized. An exhibition on the Quran was organized last year at the Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum. It drew great interest. I think that there will be demands to extend this exhibition, too. In my opinion, Istanbul is the best place to organize this exhibition. This is why everyone wants to increase the number of places to exhibit our traditional arts.”
There has been great interest in traditional arts in recent years, and municipalities, nongovernmental organizations and foundations have undertaken big projects dealing with that branch of art, Gül said, noting that the Presidential Grand Awards in Culture and Arts reflected the popularity of traditional art.
“There are very new calligraphers and artists,” Gül said. “I am very pleased to see it. We presented one of the culture awards to traditional handicrafts this time, to Hasan Çelebi. It shows that we have not forgotten our art, but rather encourage and promote it. Thousands of people will come to this exhibition and become aware of this richness.”
100 works of art on display
Speaking at the ceremony, Culture Minister Ertuğrul Günay said they were looking to turn the Telgrafhane in Gülhane Park into a calligraphy and book art museum. “If we can do it, we will be able to present this richness to people in longer periods, not just in exhibitions that continue for a few months.”
The Quran exhibition at the Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum was a good model for the proposed museum, said Günay. “We are doing a similar thing in this exhibition but this time there is a bit difference. Both artwork in public museums and the Hilya al-Sharif in private collections are being exhibited together. We have gathered more than 100 pieces of art here from the 1700s to the artists who were born in 1970.”
Günay said they planned to end the exhibition Dec. 1, but added that the date could be extended.
“I estimate that we will extend the exhibition for a few times just like we did with the Quran exhibition. This place is the working place of the Ottoman Sultan Abdulhamid. The main restoration of the Yıldız Palace was finished a few years ago. Now we are working with the Istanbul Governor’s Office to accept Turkish top officials and foreign guests in this place. I hope that we will do it in a few years,” he said.
Other attendees at the ceremony included Gül’s wife Hayrünnisa Gül; Istanbul Gov. Hüseyin Avni Mutlu; his wife, Gül Mutlu; and Istanbul Mayor Kadir Topbaş.
The exhibition is being organized with the support of the Yıldız Holding and Antik A.Ş. under the auspices of the Culture and Tourism Ministry.
(Hürriyet Daily News, with editorial amendments)