Durdy Bayramov Art Foundation
Kanada Türk Toplumu, Mayıs ayı içinde Sayın Durdy Bayramov ve kendi adını taşıyan derneği tanıma fırsatı buldular. Biz de Sayın Bayramov’u, eserlerini ve derneği okuyucularımıza tanıtmak istedik. Büyük özveri ve saygı ile babasının hatırasını devam ettiren kızı Sayın Keya Bayramova ile bir söyleşi gerçekleştirdik. Sizlerle aşağıda paylaşıyoruz:
We know Mr. Durdy Bayramov as a great artist and photographer. Now, there is the newly established Durdy Bayramov Art Foundation in Toronto. We believe that Telve readers and the Canadian Turkish community would be happy to know more about Mr. Bayramov. Can you please tell us some more about Mr. Bayramov and the Foundation?
Sure, we’re excited to have an opportunity to tell your readers more about the talented and versatile artist Durdy Bayramov, who lived from 1938 until 2014. In the Turkmen language, his name is simply “Durdy Bayram” without the Slavic-style “ov” suffix added to Russify names during the Soviet era. As you know, “Bayram” is a Turkic word that translates into English as “festival” or “celebration.” This is very fitting because throughout his life Mr. Bayramov brought great happiness to his friends and family who often gathered on special occasions to celebrate with him. Those who knew him will always remember his wide and friendly smile.
Mr. Bayramov lost his parents at a very young age and was raised in an orphanage after spending some time as a homeless child. He came from humble beginnings to achieve extraordinary success and recognition of his talent as an artist, not only in Turkmenistan, but also throughout Eastern Europe and Central Asia. In his later years, Mr. Bayramov lived and worked in Canada and created an entire series of paintings devoted to his host country. In addition to his love of painting, Mr. Bayramov was devoted to teaching art and often bought art supplies for those students who could not afford to pay for them. He became an avid and passionate advocate of art education for all who aspired to devote their lives to art, especially underprivileged children and youth. The Durdy Bayramov Art Foundation was established to continue this legacy and to advance Mr. Bayramov’s lifelong efforts to bring the joy of making and experiencing art to people around the world. The Foundation is dedicated to developing art education and public outreach programs. Central to our Foundation’s art education program is the scholarship award for promising young people who may otherwise not have the chance to pursue their love of art.
Mr. Bayramov visited Turkey multiple times and created several paintings and drawings of your beautiful country (see above his pastel painting of Aya Sofya in Istanbul). In fact, when he fell ill in 2014 and his family took him to Istanbul for a diagnosis, he told his daughters that he would return to Turkey as soon as he got better and travel throughout the country. Sadly, he passed away in Turkmenistan on February 14, 2014, just three weeks after receiving a diagnosis of terminal liver cancer.
Through the Eyes of Durdy Bayramov: Turkmen Village Life, 1960s’80s was a great exhibition organized by the Durdy Bayramov Art Foundation in May. What was the objective of the exhibition?
First of all, thank you for such a great question! The main objective of this exhibition was to introduce to Toronto and to North America more generally the works of Mr. Bayramov and to raise awareness of Turkmenistan’s history and culture. Because this was our Foundation’s first exhibition, instead of re-displaying his famous paintings we decided to exhibit a previously unseen area of Mr. Bayramov’s artworks – his photography. What makes Mr. Bayramov’s photographs so unique and special is the fact that he never pursued photography professionally – he took them for personal enjoyment and for use in his artistic process. We think that Mr. Bayramov would have been very happy and proud to know that his photographs were so well received by the public, especially because he never intended to display them. We are grateful to the selection committee at the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival for recognizing Mr. Bayramov’s talent as a photographer and for choosing our exhibition as part of the Featured Exhibition series. To give our visitors a fuller understanding and appreciation of who Mr. Bayramov was as an artist, in addition to the photographs we also displayed some of his better-known paintings at the Bayramov Museum.
There were also several other events during the exhibition like Celebration of Turkmen Carpet Day, Cultural Heritage of Turkmenistan. We hope, you will continue to organize similar events in the future. Do you have any scheduled events?
We’re in the process of planning more events for the public and will announce our new series of programs in the fall. Please check our Foundation’s Facebook page regularly for updates (https://www.facebook.com/durdybayramovartfoundation). We also plan to host a special event for the members of the Turkish Society of Canada in late August to early September. Stay tuned as we hope to make an announcement in Telve about this event soon.
Even though the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival ended on June 6, our exhibitions are still open to the public twice a week on Monday and Thursday from 12 to 5 pm. The Bayramov Museum is located at 2647 Bayview Avenue, Toronto, Ontario M2L1B8. If you are visiting us again or coming for the first time, we hope to welcome you to our museum very soon!
What is your plan to increase the visibility of your Foundation and Turkmenistan in Toronto and Canada?
We’ll continue organizing exhibitions, as well as public outreach programs like special lectures about Turkmenistan and the artist Durdy Bayramov. We had some wonderful guest speakers during a month-long series of programs in May, who shared with Torontonians and its guests the culture, arts, history, archaeology, holidays, and music of Turkmenistan. We also co-published a beautiful exhibition catalogue with the Asian Cultural History Program of the Smithsonian Institution.
We’re currently working on redesigning our website to make it more user friendly and easy to use for the public. We plan to launch our new website in the fall, which is very exciting! In addition, because we know how important the arts are for young people, we are active on social media, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. We have a young, vibrant, and dedicated team working for our Foundation – everybody brings their unique perspectives and fresh ideas, and we hope that this passion brings us success.
Finally, Toronto is a multicultural city and we want to engage members of different communities in our work so we have been reaching out to a variety of community groups and welcoming them to our museum. We are grateful to the Turkish community of Toronto for your interest in our Foundation and hope that you continue to support us. Turkey and Turkmenistan have a lot in common – most importantly, our people share cultural roots. At this time, we don’t have a large Turkmen community in Toronto so we hope that your community stands by us as we grow our Foundation.
Do you have any message to Turkish Canadians and especially for the young generation who need to know and understand their culture?
Our advice for the young generation would be to remember how important family is among the people of Turkmenistan and Turkey. Please respect and appreciate your parents. Attend exhibitions such as ours with your mother or father and make it a family outing! Embrace your cultural roots and be proud of your cultural heritage. The more cultural programs you attend in Toronto and in Canada at large to support members of other communities, the more you will grow to appreciate your own culture.
Thank you for your time for this nice interview and wish you great success with your Foundation.
Istanbul. Aya Sofya
Marker and pastel on paper, 13.7” x 19.8”, 2004
Durdy Bayramov (1938–2014)