Art Opening: Mavi Marmara Memorial Exhibit (open through June 3rd)

Tue, May 31, 2011 7:00 pm at Alwan for the Arts

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Co-presented by Brooklyn for Peace

Doors open at 6:30. Free and open to the public.

Join us in commemorating nine peace activists (Turkish citizens, including Furkan Dogan, also an American citizen) who were killed by Israeli soldiers when they sailed on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla on May 31, 2010.The Mavi Marmara Memorial will mark the one-year anniversary of the attack on the flotilla.

The opening will feature the exhibiting artists along with Jane Hirschmann, a member of Jews Say No! in New York City and one of the national organizers of the US Boat to Gaza. Active in anti-war efforts for the past four decades, Hirschmann is also a psychotherapist and the co-author of threebooks.

Our common goals are peace, prosperity, and equal opportunities in the Middle East and everywhere across the globe.

The exhibit will remain open from 11am-6pm through Friday, June 3rd. For more information, email

On Exhibit:
Documentary – Alborz Ghandehari
Drawing – Necdet Yilmaz
Poem – Nihal Ozlem
Posters - Dogan Arslan
Sculptures – Marcia Bernstein
Quilt – Hulya Kartal

About the Artists:

Necdet Yilmaz was born and raised in Istanbul, where he attended Marmara University School of Fine Arts and Design. He has worked for several multinational advertising agencies such as Grey and J. Walter Thompson as an art director and has won awards for his ad campaigns and illustrations in Turkey and around the world. His work has been exhibited in New York, London, Italy, Brasil, Cyprus, Pakistan, Korea and Turkey.
Necdet Yilmaz is a member of SCBWI and currently resides in New York.

Dogan Arslan was born in Turkey. He is an artist, designer and educator. After studying graphic design at the Marmara University School of Fine Arts, in Istanbul, he came to New York to study his master degree between 1997 and 1999 at the Pratt Institute. He went to London to study his doctorate on Art and Design. He finished his Ph.D at the University of East London, in 2006. He is working as an art director at the one of companies in Manhattan. He is also working on creating an interactive design department in Pamukkle University, Denizli, Turkey. He spends his time between Turkey and New York. He believes in peace, love and art.

Alborz Ghandehari’s film “Steel Dove: Stories of Art and Occupation” is the culmination of an undergraduate research project exploring the work of Palestinian artists. Funded in part by Carnegie Mellon University’s SURG and Tartans Abroad programs, the film has been previously shown at the Carnegie Mellon Meeting of the Minds Research Symposium and at the University of Utah. Alborz is also an actor and writer and has directed for and performed in the Playground Festival of Independent Student Work in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Notable credits at Playground include “My Name is Rachel Corrie” and “Four Boxes” by renowned Iranian playwright and filmmaker Bahram Beyzaii, as well as an original piece for SLAM PLAYGROUND 2009. Alborz holds a B.F.A. in Drama from Carnegie Mellon University. Next fall he will join the doctoral cohort in Ethnic Studies at the University of California San Diego in pursuit of his M.A./Ph.D. His research interests include emancipatory discourses in the social movements and contemporary arts scenes of the Middle East, with an emphasis on civil resistance in Iran.

Kristofer Petersen-Overton is a doctoral student in political science at the CUNY Graduate Center and an adjunct lecturer of political science at Brooklyn College where he teaches Middle East politics. His research deals broadly with the (re)production of national identity in Israel/Palestine. In 2007/8 He spent five months working for the Palestinian Center for Human Rights in the Gaza Strip.

Marcia Bernstein has received recognition for her work including solo exhibitions in New York City - at the Interchurch Center, Donnell Public Library, the Unibank Gallery, and at Richart Gallery. Solo shows also at the Yellow Wall Gallery in Harrisburg PA, and at the Educational Testing Service, Princeton, NJ. Ms. Bernstein has been exhibiting her work in group shows throughout the country, has been selected by jurors for large juried exhibitions. She has exhibited in many out of state galleries, among others, was in a two person show at McHenry County College, Illinois; in a three person show at Chemetka College Gallery, Salem, Oregon. Ms. Bernstein had two pieces exhibited at the Fusion Museum in NYC and was in a three women show at Kingsborough Community College, Brooklyn, NY. Ms. Bernstein exhibits frequently with the National Association of Women Artists, the American Society of Contemporary Artists, Women In The Arts, and with Art From Detritus.

A native New Yorker, Ms. Bernstein currently resides in Brooklyn. She has a certificate in Art Therapy from the New School for Social Research in NYC. Marcia and her husband are active members of PAUSE - Palestine Action Union Square - and for the past eight years have taken part in a Saturday afternoon demo on 14th Street against the Israeli occupation. They are members of Brooklyn for Peace.

Hulya Kartal was born and raised in Istanbul, Turkey; she currently resides in Brooklyn. She holds a Master Degree from Brooklyn College. She is been a long-term activists to promote peace and fight against all States’ discrimination. She is a president of a non-profit organization to empower women.

Nihal Ozlem was born and raised in Istanbul, Turkey. She graduated from Nigde University. She has signed several art projects including music and art magazine and art programs in tv. Nihal worked as an editor in a publishing house and TV channel. Her poems have been published in art websites. Nihal resides in Istanbul.

A note from exhibition curator Hulya Kartal:

Let me begin by introducing myself. I was born in Istanbul and raised by parents who always valued human beings, not their ethnic or religious backgrounds. On many occasions my mother fed strangers and gave clothing away despite our limited income.

I always feel reluctant to call myself Turkish or American or Turkish-American. These tags are forced upon us by governments to follow their orders and to have a sense of belonging. Yet without these, I always feel the pain of a mother who lost her newborn baby in Honduras, to hear the scream of a father whose son has been killed in front of his eyes in Iraq, to bear the pain of Palestinian brothers and sisters under occupation and imperialism. I recognize no religious belief, no citizenship but humanity; I stand up for oppressed and exploited people. My only recognition is for a world where we can live together in peace and with equal opportunities.

Why this project: It was chilling to watch Israeli forces surrounding the flotilla in international waters with an undetermined number of injured and dead. The next morning, I read about the deaths of nine peace activists. The death of the youngest one, 17-year-old Turkish-American Furkan Dogan, hurt the most. He was shot at a close range--later it was proven--in the chest and head. His last conversation with his parents was particularly moving: "Don't worry, they won't touch me because I am an American". This statement reminded me that Middle Eastern peoples think Western countries and especially the United States are leaders for democracy and human rights.

I wanted to do something--something to remind everyone about this incident every year in a peaceful manner. The best would be an exhibition. Then the idea of a quilt came to my mind but this was not enough. Other individuals--not only artists--should be able to express their feelings. As individuals, our worst struggle is not being able to express ourselves. Having a big quilt project, like the one for AIDS victims, was offered to Brooklyn For Peace.

I know these were not the first killings, nor will they be the last. But I hope my effort to commemorate these young activists--who gave their lives to call the world's attention to the siege of Gaza--will help bring peace to the Middle East.

Last updated: 2011-06-02 11:39:30

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