Exhibition: A Place In My Mind

Inspired by the layout of Islamic gardens, natural Arabic medicines and healing recipes, ‘A Place in my Mind’ engages with the long tradition of creating natural remedies from Arabic plants, spices and flowers.

The exhibition, that opens on September 7 at REM Art Space in Istanbul, aims to create a dialogue between the past and the present; the natural and the manmade; the idealistic and real; and the seen and the unseen. It does this by examining the mental and physical healing power of nature. The artist is trying to find a new way of expressing our spiritual needs by analyzing and engaging with Arabian flora and landscapes to heal and purify our souls.

Banu Çolak, A Place in my Mind 4, Acrylic Paint on Canvas, Diameter 145 cm x 145 cm, 2017.

Banu Çolak, A Place in my Mind 4, Acrylic Paint on Canvas, Diameter 145 cm x 145 cm, 2017.

‘A Place in my Mind’ series, which gives its name to the exhibition, consists of large scale acrylic paintings with simple geometric forms focusing on images of an idealized romantic landscape – a green garden. This multi-layered structure built by the artist over a long time parallels the peculiarities of the temporally evolving natural landscape on which the works are based. Each small square on the painting’s surface depicts simplicity and peace, a ‘place’ between the micro-macro cosmos and physical-spiritual life.

‘Digging a Garden’ (2016-2018) was completed over two years. It comprises of 21 pieces of hand cut paper which is a cross between a recurring magnified image of flowers and an aerial view of a desert. This manipulation is done by a painstaking time-consuming process of repeated cutting, gluing and folding over and over. ‘Digging through a Garden’ (2018) is a wood print using a mix of plants, spices, roots and flowers, set out from traditional healing prescriptions typical of Middle Eastern countries.

Examining the politics of cartography and middle-eastern landscapes in her work ‘Searching for a Remedy with ‘Desert Flowers’ (2018) Çolak embroiders and stitches the images of these desert flowers on raw canvas by implementing grids similarly used in maps.

Banu Çolak (1978) lives and works in Abu Dhabi. She is currently working as an Assistant Professor at the College of Art and Creative Enterprises at Zayed University in Abu Dhabi. She uses various media to explore our relationship with the physical space we inhabit and examines how we engage with nature, the city, and architecture as perceived through space, body and memory.

Çolak’s recent exhibitions include; ‘Made in Tashkeel’ (Tashkeel, Dubai, UAE 2018); ‘SIKKA Art Fair, Dubai Culture & Arts Authority’, (Al Fahidi Cutural District, Dubai, UAE, 2018); ‘Iterations as Habitats/Fleff 2015’ (curated by Dale Hudson of New York University Abu Dhabi with Claudia Costa Pederson of Wichita State University, Ithaca College, Ithaca, New York, 2016); ‘ISEA’ (Location 20th International Symposium on Electronic Art, Dubai, 2016); ‘The Flat Planet’ (The Invisible Line Gallery, curated by Tara Aghdashloo, London, UK, 2014)

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