Istanbul is preparing to celebrate Turkish master poet Nazım Hikmet’s 111th birthday with an exclusive exhibition, ‘My Homeland: The Lines on My Forehead’
World renowned Turkish poetry master Nazım Hikmet’s 111th birthday is set to be celebrated with an exclusive exhibition at Istanbul’s Caddebostan Culture Center. Opening on Jan. 12, “My Homeland: The Lines on My Forehead” (Alnımın Çizgilerinde Memleketim) will continue through Feb. 7 for audiences seeking to discover Nazım Hikmet’s unique artistic path.
The exhibition focuses on the interest that Nazım Hikmet had for art and drawing. There are sculptures and paintings of 36 famous Turkish artists such as İbrahim Balaban, Ömer Uluç, Mehmet Güleryüz, Tankut Öktem, Mehmet Aksoy Yalçın Karayağız and Memet Güreli.
To accompany the exhibition, a book will be published by Yapı Kredi Publishing House, including the writings of Turgay Fişekçi. In the exhibition catalogue, Fişekçi writes about how close Nazım Hikmet felt to his mother, as well as his mother’s relation to his art and artistic creation.
The book will also include a complete biography of the poet and many of his poems, as well as telling the story of his visits to different countries each year. It will be translated into a number of different languages.
Both the exhibition and the book include photos and describe Hikmet’s love for Vera Tulyakova, as well as featuring elements from the personal archive that he kept while in Russia, Azerbaijan and China, such as handwriting, personal items and cartoons.
It is curated by Vera Tulyakova’s close friend, architect Melih Güneş, who also wrote the book.
“Visitors to the exhibition will see a different Nazım Hikmet,” Güneş told the Hürriyet Daily News.
“The audience will see that he was kind and full of love, but also that sometimes in his portraits his eyes were full of hunger and sadness,” he said. “When he holds the children you can see that he holds them like they are his own children.”
The exhibition will also include the cartoons titled “Peace to your House” and “The Clouds in Love,” which were drawn by Hikmet and issued in 1959.
After the death of Tulyakova, Güneş obtained 1,000 photos from her. “I am grateful to both Tulyakova and her daughter, Vera, for their help.”
The exhibition will be the first step toward the realizing of an official Nazım Hikmet museum in Turkey, a move that Güneş strongly supports.
“I had a meeting with the Culture Ministry about establishing a museum, but I did not get any concrete result,” he said.
Hikmet’s belongings being sold?
Hikmet died in exile in the Soviet Union in 1963, but Turkey returned honorary citizenship to him about four years ago.
“The state is just trying to compensate for it did in the past, but giving back citizenship is not enough. Nazım Hikmet spent his whole life in exile – he had a big hunger for his homeland,” Güneş said.
He said that Vera had always told him that Turkey should return Nazım’s passport, “but also make the gesture of including Nazım’s work in the school curriculum.”
A number of Hizmet’s priceless belongings were found in the Urals region of Russiathree years ago, and it is now reported that Galina Kolesnikova, Hikmet’s former doctor and an alleged former KGB agent, is preparing to sell the items for $1 million.
Güneş wants Turkish officials to protect the items and says he has informed Culture Minister Ertuğrul Günay about the issue. Güneş claims that the ministry said it was unable to purchase the items from Kolesnikova. Now 96-years-old, Kolesnikova is selling the items one by one.