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Female painters’ exhibition opens in London

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Brushwork by members of the Istanbul Women Painters’ Society will be on display at the exhibition

World Women’s Day launch of exhibition is inspired by century-old Ottoman aristocratic pioneer

A contemporary art exhibition to mark the centenary of a Turkish woman who attempted to set up a painters’ society opened in central London last week.

“Mihri Müşfik and Istanbul” opened its doors to visitors the Yunus Emre Institute on Wednesday 8 March, International Women’s Day.

The exhibition is organised by Nilgün Sarp, who established the Istanbul Women Painters’ Society that the Turkish aristocrat and artist Mihri Müşfik Hanım was unable to establish in 1917.

The exhibition displays a selection of 31 paintings from 16 artists, inspired by Müşfik.

Among those attending the event were Sefire Esra Bilgiç, wife of the Turkish ambassador to the UK; Turkish Cypriot representative Zehra Başaran and Deniz Ergin, the wife of the Turkish Consul General in London.

Organisers said the subject matter is Istanbul, which is “invariably referred to as a bridge between continents as well as civilizations.

“The exhibition will reveal different aspects of the city’s cultural and social values to art enthusiast in London, through various artistic techniques with the aim to convey the uniqueness of Istanbul’s landscape.”

“She was the first female Ottoman contemporary artist and also initiated the foundation of the Art School for Women,” a statement from the centre continued.

“The inspiration behind the artwork of the Turkish Women Artists Society is a mix between Istanbul’s rich culture and Mihri Müşfik Hanım’s heritage.”

The statement went on: “In 1917, Mihri Müşfik Hanım wanted to establish the Istanbul Women Painters Society but due to the lack of opportunities a century ago, it did not come to fruition.

“In 2005, Nilgün Sarp achieved what was conceptualised by Mihri Müşfik Hanım and established the Society. Today in 2017, exactly a century after and on the day of International Women’s Day, Istanbul Women Painters Society has the honour to welcome you to this event.”

The exhibition will run at the Yunus Emre Institute in London between 8-30 March at 10 Maple Street, London, W1T 5HA. Admission is free of charge. The centre is open 10.30-8pm Monday to Friday, and 10.30am-6pm Saturday. It is closed on Sunday.