Atatürk Cultural Centre
I Watch AKM With a Light Heart and Start Dreaming!
It has been four years. It was on May 24, 2017 that I published an article titled “If we had a stage” (Turkish, “Bir sahnemiz olsaydı”) in one of our national newpapers.
“If we had a stage, I would perhaps take my daughter to the opera on a Sunday,” it said.
“Of course, we would dress up.
Imagine a magnificent opera house; it would be a shame to go in jeans.
It would be hard to find tickets.
But a wise father would have thought about this days before.
He would have bought the tickets for an opera box,
So that the girl could lean toward the marble barrier and put her chin above it.
The engravings on the wall would have started to move long before the curtains were opened.
It is not a hard work to achieve; they only need to startle us.
Yes, it’s hard to startle someone; but, with the building being so magnificent, we would already be ready to get the chills.
It’s not a building but a masterpiece.”
“My daughter would start to smile, and a sense of fascination could be read from her face.”
Things that we lacked started to get control of me… I was feeling grieved.
“Why don’t we have an opera house in the city that has become a symbol?
Why would Istanbul State Opera and Ballet lack a stage where they could perform their brand-new Swan Lake Ballet?
We have congress halls but no big symbol stages and fly bars in Istanbul to perform masterpieces.
Some of you will say, “People are starving. What stage are you talking about?”
I want to answer this in another time. But lacking such a “central” scene makes me think of these:
For me, Istanbul is turning into a city for lost souls.
Because it lacks an opera house.
The whole world, particularly Europe, takes the city’s point of bearing from around the opera house.
Though it’s high and historic, for example, they don’t have this point around the Eiffel Tower.
They say, “Find the opera house, walk toward its right, its left, it’s right behind it.”
And people of Istanbul have never heard ot this – never got accustomed to this tradition.
There’s no saying “When you take the road that stands 100 metres east of the opera house, you’ll find it.”
After all, what we call a “house of art” consists of energy. The house of energy.
It doesn’t have to be an architectural masterpiece; it’s where energy lives.
It’s as if we lost our way as there’s no house of energy here that will be our point of bearing. It hurts.
My eyes were filled with tears as I thought about these. Then, a cry came.
“Please read this article as the cry of an artist.
Art is a way of revenging death. An individual, who has been threatened with death all along, rises against this irrevocable understanding of fate. Societies that accept dying do not care at all about science, which helps relieve the individual, and justice which exists just for the sake of honour. Societies that fall toward the cliff of non-existence cling to art’s rope with all their might. Art is the only thing that can save them.
Art nests, schools and artists are really precious for the lovers of art. They compose the only reason for them to live. They compose their meeting places where they just meet up, pour out their grieves, and glorify one another. Art is performed so as one person loves the other. Performed so beauty gets to be born out of it. Art is part of human nature. Art is what makes a human, human. Glorifies him, illuminates him, and purifies him.”
This was my hyme for art, where I wrote about my opinions on art. It was an article that was inclined toward grief and hopelessness. It reflected my pessimist views right onto the readers’ minds.
Today, I watch AKM with a light heart. I am happy that it erects right at the heart of İstanbul as if it was a monument. It will be admirable to see that the lights of art will rise and shine in these illuminating art nest, on the very selves of my people – that the feelings of aestheticism and refined souls will be soaring to great heights in this place.
This touchstone of our beloved Istanbul, which is a world capital, will serve as an altar shaping the city’s culture and senses of arts.
We have grown up with our great leader Ataturk’s words, “A nation without art has lost one of its lifelines.” We have made it one of our principles in life to keep art ever-green in one’s process of becoming a more refined individual.
Today, I watch AKM, erecting in our Taksim Square, with a light heaert and a sense of joy and start dreaming.