Turkish Artist Elkin Onat Exposes Erdogan in Performance Art
Elkin Onat, 41, is a classically trained “ballet-dancer-turned-artist” who creates art with a political dimension. From feminism to provocative multimedia installations themed around sexual abuse, Onat’s newest project – a performance piece – will be showcased at this year’s Venice Beinnale scrutinises President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Over a 6-month period, Onat has secretly gathered “a 330-page internal police log detailing more than 2,000 cases of state-sanctioned violence against Turkish citizens over the last 11 months.”
The project’s details have not been revealed yet to avoid any threat of shutdown before the Biennale, however, the headline piece will be part of Objection – the Pavilion of Humanity; that will feature the transformation of a Venetian villa “to give an artistic home to women’s rights and freedom of speech.”
Elkin Onat’s work portrays a “dark warning in the aftermath of the Turkish referendum;” commenting on the repression, violence and the infringement of basic human rights such as freedom of speech.
Documenta 14 Launches in Athens, Greece
documenta 14 opened its exhibition in Athens on April 8th. In over 40 public institutions introducing over 160 international artists and their works conceived for documenta 14. Taking place in both Athens and Kassel, participating artists think about and produce within the context of the emerging dynamic relationship between the two cities.
Upcoming works include: Shamiyaana – Food for Thought: Thought for Change (invites people to sit together and enjoy a meal based on recipes from around the Mediterranean), Social Dissonance (an instructional score preparing the audience with ways to explore the dissonance between individual narcissism, capitalism, social capacities), and Native Foreigners (strategies of artistic self-determination within institutions).
Adam Szymczyk, Artistic Director of documenta 14, claimed with conviction that documenta 14 will “contribute to building a bridge – a political one, over which the refugees who need to find a safe home in Europe might be able to walk.” Documenta 14, therefore, is not an ambassador of any one nation or community; it is a global ambassador taking inspiration from current socio-political affairs and cultural practices in societies today.
Trans Teen Artist Fighting Discrimination with Wearable Works of Art
Hunter Schafer, 18-years-old, is an artist and activist advocating for trans youth. Having transitioned at age 14, Schafer was particularly affected by North Carolina’s House Bill 2, which forces transgender individuals to use bathrooms that don’t coincide with their gender identity. She soon protested the bill and used art as a platform to share her experience on the matter.
For her high school senior thesis project, Schafer is designing a series of garments aimed at fighting discrimination against trans communities (image: left), “exploring how imagination can wrestle the body away from binary understanding of gender.”
The bulky red underwear with hands covering up the genitals with “Peel away every perception” written across the garments, is one of Schafer’s recent wearable creations. Schafer told The Huffington Post, “The piece is dealing with how people perceive me versus how I feel.” In a statement about her experiences through illustrations, Schafer expressed, “I longed to escape, and to express what I felt inside me – not what was expected of me.”
Follow Schafer’s art on her Instagram account
Dominic is a Greek/American writer & editor; English and Theatre Studies Graduate