RIT SPAS Gallery Highlights Global Interactions in Art and Education

New exhibition ‘Aşina/Familiar’ opens with a reception and artist discussion on Oct. 29

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Roberley Bell, “First tree five years later” from Trees series, Inkjet print, 2012

Turkey is seeped in history—best known for the Trojan War, Noah’s Ark landing on Mount Ararat, St. Nicholas (Santa Claus) who became the bishop of Demre, and the Sirkeci train station, the last stop of the Simplon-Orient Express between Paris and Constantinople (Istanbul) from 1883 to 1977.

And now modern Turkish society and culture will be explored as the School of Photographic Arts and Sciences Gallery at Rochester Institute of Technology presents “Aşina/Familiar” from Oct. 29 through Nov. 16. The exhibition of photography and video by contemporary Turkish artists includes works by Nancy Atakan, Özgül Arslan, Ipek Duben, Gül Ilgaz, Iz Öztat, Burcu Yağiz Yançatarol and Roberley Bell, professor in RIT’s School of Photographic Arts and Sciences.

“Aşina/Familiar” begins with an opening reception from 5 to 7 p.m. on Oct. 29 in the SPAS Gallery, followed by a 7 p.m. artists’ panel in Carlson Auditorium, Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science. The discussion is moderated by Professor Clarence (Chip) Sheffield, RIT’s Eugene H. Fram Chair in Applied Critical Thinking.

Bell is a two-time winner of RIT’s prestigious and coveted Eisenhart Award for Outstanding Teaching. The origin of “Aşina/Familiar” can be traced to Bell’s 2010 Fulbright Senior Scholar Teaching Fellowship in Istanbul, Turkey, and her educational and creative collaboration with six of Turkey’s most recognized visual artists.

According to SPAS Gallery Director Therese Mulligan, the theme of the exhibition is not without its intricacies and challenges.

“The commonplace city street or landscape view, habitual customs and tasks, especially those performed by women, are, in the works seen here, fertile ground for addressing radical changes reverberating throughout Turkish society and culture,” Mulligan explains.

“Aggressive modernization, brought on by the processes, products and ideas of globalization, along with heightened immigration to Turkey’s shores and Istanbul’s city center, and the struggle of gender equality belie the new worldview realities impacting every facet of Turkish life.”

Organized by RIT’s SPAS Gallery, “Aşina/Familiar” will travel to the Bellows Gallery at the Chautauqua Institute, Chautauqua, N.Y., in the summer of 2013, as well as other display venues. The exhibition is made possible with generous support from the Turkish Cultural Foundation.

SPAS Gallery, located on the third floor of RIT’s Frank E. Gannett Hall, is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. For more information, call the SPAS main office at 585-475-2884.