ISTANBUL (AA): Iranian artist Shirin Abedinirad’s new exhibition “Collective Reflection” opened at Kızlar Monastery, also known as the Panagia Theoskepastos Monastery, in Turkey’s Black Sea province of Trabzon. The exhibition will remain open to visitors until March 11.
Held on the occasion of International Women’s Day with the initiative of Turkish Association of University Women (TÜKD) Istanbul Branch, “Collective Refletcion” comprises of three different works made of mirrors. The works placed at different points in the monastery focus to draw attention to human values and the importance of women in society.
A series of interviews with experts on current issues will also be held as part of the exhibition curated by Ayça Okay. The events will be interactive and the audience will be able to participate as well.
Noting that the exhibition was organized as part of a project by TÜKD, artist Abedinirad said in a written statement: “The Kızlar Monastery is a very special place where women produced and earned a living. The ‘Women of Mina’ project was founded by 11 productive women who support the TÜKD. Just like the founding purpose of the monastery, this project continues to work to empower women.”
Regarding her exhibition, Abedinirad said that she tries to encourage women and tell them that it is enough to look at their reflection in the mirror in order to stand on their own feet in her works. “Especially in patriarchal societies, I, with my works, send a message to productive, bright women to encourage them to look to the sky when they are in despair and keep doing what they are doing. I think the key point in women empowerment is courage. If women can reveal their pure energies, pure selves and potential, they can get stronger and continue on their way. That’s why I find it very exciting to be involved in this project and to work in a historical monastery where women produced and lived.” The artist lastly added that her works were in perfect harmony with the beautiful monastery which has undergone years of renovation.
Abedinirad is an author and artist best known for her mirror installations presenting optical illusions. Working on the themes of gender, sexuality, and human compassion, the artist is interested in conceptual, performance and video arts. She has exhibited her artworks in numerous international festivals, biennials, and exhibitions throughout the globe. Currently based in United State, Shirin has continued focusing on her performance, installation, and video art projects.
The Kızlar Monastery complex, built on two terraces, is located on a high point of Trabzon in the Boztepe quarter, surrounded by a high guard wall, overlooking the city. The monastery, estimated to have been founded during the reign of Byzantine Emperor Alexios III, has been repaired several times and received its last major update in the 19th century.
Notable for its proximity to the city center, the monastery consists of a rock church with holy water in the south and a chapel and several cells at its entrance. The rock church contains inscriptions and the portraits of Alexios III’s wife Theodora and his mother Eirene. The Ministry of Culture and Tourism completed extensive restoration and relief work at the end of 2019, bringing the historic fabric of the monastery to the fore.
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