Cansu Çakar

Cansu Çakar was born in Istanbul in 1988 and earned a bachelor's degree in the Traditional Turkish Arts Department at Dokuz Eylül University of Fine Arts. Her work is about blending traditional art forms, such as illumination design and miniature painting, with contemporary art practices and topics. By doing so, she challenges the stereotypical classification of traditional expressions and highlights her desire to set them free. In her drawings, paintings, and workshops, she delves into male-dominated subjects through her unique personal investigation and storytelling, which typically center on social, historical, and architectural topics, including expected roles for women, as well as historical and contemporary interpretations of Near Eastern and Mediterranean cultures. Her works create a symbolic dialogue that hints at the seeming contradiction and continuity of traditions in today's world. Believing that a symbolic language never dies but instead changes forms and survives within the confines of commonly approved norms, she aims to recreate an old visual language that's often considered dead by intervening forces of the living. As such, she redefines the traditional format of miniature in her artistic practice, even while working in long-established styles herself. The artist's interest in the tradition of collective thinking and production is central to her work and informs her practice through her workshops. During these activities, she draws a line between what it means to be a woman or a prisoner in an oppressive society and the aesthetics of traditional art in our contemporary art world. Ultimately, both share the search for a pluralistic language against conservatism and the need for emancipation. Cansu Çakar's practice is based on researching traditional art forms and handicrafts such as ornamentation and illumination through contemporary art practices and subjects. The desire to free such forms of expression from stereotypes is a struggle of liberation against conservatism and has helped her create a unique personal approach in her drawings and paintings. The concepts that Çakar explores range from social to historical, architectural to landscape mostly focusing on expected roles of women, history of the Near East and their contemporary interpretations.

Among her projects and exhibitions are Between Earthly Beings and the Unknown Cosmic World: The Continent, The Július Koller Society (Bratislava, 2023); Hat ve Hata (solo), .artSümer, (İstanbul, 2023); Nature and State, Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden (Baden-Baden, 2022); Fore-Edge Painting, MACRO Museo d'Arte Contemporanea di Roma and Bibliotheca Hertziana, (Rome, 2021); The 6th Ural Industrial Biennial of Contemporary Art, (Yekaterinburg, 2020); BB11- 11th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art, The Crack Begins Within, KW, (Berlin, 2020); Miniature 2.0, Pera Museum, (İstanbul, 2020); Replica of the Origin, SALT Beyoğlu, (İstanbul, 2019); The Crime of Mr. Adolf Loos, Axel Vervoordt Gallery, (Antwerp, 2019); Cappadox Contemporary Art Program, (Cappadocia, 2018); House of Wisdom, Dzialdov (Berlin, 2017); IKSV Building (Public program of the 15th Istanbul Biennial, Istanbul, 2017), Framer Framed (Amsterdam, 2017), Bonington Gallery, (Nottingham, 2018) Freundschaftsspiel: Istanbul, Freiburg : Ayşe Umur / Agah Uğur collections: Museum für Neue Kunst, (Freiburg, 2016); Linear Transcendency at the Lab-Darat al Funun, (Amman, 2016) and SALT WATER: A Theory of Thought Forms, 14th Istanbul Biennial- 100°- FLO, (İstanbul, 2015).

She participated in the SAHA Studio artist residency program in March-September 2023.