You may remember Öykü Ersoy from this year’s Mamut Art Project…
Nowadays, her works, in which she examines the relationship between the city and people, are getting more and more acclaim with her fragile lines and humorous style. We talked about her art, life, future plans and the relationship between Istanbul and Ankara, which she calls “my atelier”, with Öykü, who is one of the promising names in Artnivo and who we think will sign many good works in the future.
“Cities” is a topic that you often focus on. What makes this subject special for you?
Öykü Ersoy: Concepts that I could not internalize since childhood are “home”, “space”, “city”… Dozens of changed houses, houses where I stayed for months without anything belonging to me, constant journeys, tides.I think this is how I learned to look at the city over time and reflect on what I saw.
Then, in 2012, I started to visit Somali immigrants in Ankara periodically and thought that these visits should turn into a project. The project consisted of photographic records documenting how they created a new ghetto by living illegally in the abandoned ghettos of the capital within the framework of urban renewal. That period was a period for me when I started to know myself internally and to discover myself artistically. At this time, I started taking lessons from Ferhat Özgür and my perspective on art, my technique, my stance, everything started to change and develop in a positive way. For example, the idea of sewing, which has an important place in many of my works, emerged in this project.
What are the other issues you can’t stop yourself from going deeper into?
ÖE: Everything in the city. Mainly, belonging, space, migration, death, stains in the plastic sense, traces… In my illustrations the topics I cover are love – fear – shame – rebellion. In short, I am more interested in what is old, worn, which has lived experience.
You were born in Ankara and now you live and work in Istanbul. Do you ever say, “A part of me is still there”? Are there any traces left on you from Ankara, reflected in your work?
ÖE: I may be living here in practice, but as I get older, I realize that my soul is always in Ankara and from Ankara I love Ankara’s spirit that is independent of place and place. I do a lot of research there when creating my work. At the same time, there are very important projects for me such as “We are coming to your house inshallah” and “Skilled dead” that I created in Ankara. It is my childhood, my first concert, my first love, my first pain, my first party. Therefore, I cannot think of myself and my work independently from there.
You described yourself as “a true Kadıköy person” before, and we are conducting our interview in Moda. How would you describe your relationship with both here and Istanbul? How do these places feed you?
ÖE: I feel social and peaceful in Kadıköy. People are friendly… The municipality is very sweet The European side seems a bit scary and tiring to me. This is the Ankara of Istanbul for me. Except for the municipality, of course :)) Istanbul is a city where you have to make crazy calculations in order to run all the time, get somewhere or get there on time. At the same time, it is magical and magnificent. I think the fact that it contains all its contrasts makes it indispensable. Every day I want to go, even leave in my mind and come back here. In fact, the lack of space basically feeds me.