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A Forest Dream

Hisarönü Köyü, Marmaris / MUĞLA

A Forest Dream is a project dedicated to approximately 200,000 hectares of forest area that burned in the summer of 2021. During the week-long fires, the local public watched their forest slowly burn to the ground. Sometimes they had to evacuate their homes when winds changed direction, moving the fires and the smoke towards their village, and sometimes they stood guard alone to protect their dwellings. While they received many volunteers from all over the country to help them during this time, they were left with dead trees in the aftermath of the war.

During these fires, the traces of life that spanned generations under the protection of the same forest disappeared, and millions of plants and animals perished. The locals see the forest as a memory space and a livelihood, making its loss a huge trauma on many levels.

Through experience sharing gatherings, talks and workshops on the relationship between body and nature between the women of three most affected villages in Marmaris, namely Hisarönü, Bayır, Osmaniye, the “Forest Dream” project aims to create a farewell ritual for the forest as well as composing a song to celebrate new growth.

The ritual and the song that will be created as a result of this collaborative creative project will be performed with the participation of local women to the public at a damaged forest site. Our performance aims to create an alternative relationship between ourselves and the forest, allowing mourners whose forest and animals have been lost to find closure and to celebrate the new growth that is emerging everywhere.

This project will illuminate the connection between the locals and the forest, as well as their own stories. It will also enable us to critically examine our own complicity in deforestation, to re-discover the importance of forests in our lives, and to mourn after a social catastrophe that left us feeling truly desperate, a much needed moment of healing for our pain and anger.

Arzu Yayıntaş 
Forest Watch
Performative Photography, 2021

Arzu Yayıntaş

Arzu Yayınyaş is an artist and curator living in Istanbul. She has co-curated and shown in many international exhibitions in the public and non-profit space since 2002. She worked at Santralistanbul, Proje4L ve Istanbul Biennial. Among the exhibitions she curated are Normalleş(me)! at Karşı Sanat Çalışmaları in Istanbul, Ahmet Isvan at Saraçhane Gallery in Istanbul), A Room of Our Own at Ark Kültür in Istanbul, Incorrigible at Nilüfer Culture House in Bursa, the 30th Contemporary Artists Exhibition at Akbank Sanat in Istanbul, the 2nd Antakya Biennial, Organization Structures at Kızıl Ev in Sofia and Istanbul Pedestrian Exhibitions 2: Tünel-Karaköy.

As a curator, Yayıntaş mostly focuses on creating opportunities for dialogue, collaboration, and questioning patriarchal and capitalist power structures. Her projects explore ways of dissolving the boundaries between art and activism, and finding alternatives to traditional methods of exhibition.

As an artist, her works include installations, performances, photography, videos and workshops spotlighting gender inequality, social transformation and environmental degradation.

The artist participated in the Misplaced Women Performance Workshop by Tanja Ostojic, the curatorial program at Gwangju Biennial and Vessel Art Project's Curator Residency program. CultureCIVIC provided her funding in 2022 for art production.

Along with her artistic practice, she announces annual visibility figures of women in contemporary arts in Turkey to raise awareness of the issue.

This page is published on 1 June 2022.
Last update: 8 June 2022