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Turkish Police Censor Public Art Piece in Istanbul

The artist Işıl Eğrikavuk, who was commissioned to create a new work for YAMA, a public art installation series screened on top of an Istanbul hotel, alleges in a statement on Facebook that her animation about women’s voices in public spaces was first removed for “insulting religious views,” and later that the work was a source of “visual pollution,” according to local authorities. Works for YAMA are typically projected on an about nineteen by twenty-nine-foot screen located on top of Istanbul’s Marmara Pera hotel.

Eğrikavuk’s work, prepared in collaboration with YAMA’s curator Övül Durmuşoğlu, is titled Time to Sing a New Song and consists of a short animation of a woman’s emoji face slowly turning into an apple. It was supposed to be on display from sunset to sunrise everyday between April 23 to June 30 of this year, however three days after the opening on April 26 officers from Beyoğlu Municipality apparently came to the hotel and put a stop to the exhibition. The artist learned from Durmuşoğlu that there had been a complaint about the video, for “insulting religious views,” and subsequently also was told that the video was causing “visual pollution,” in a violation of a local Urban Design Regulation, and had to be shut off.

Other artworks shown on the rooftop screen as part of this public art series have not been taken down or deinstalled prematurely, according to reports available at this time. For more on the artist’s work, see Kate Sutton’s Pick on her show at Egeran Galeri in Istanbul.