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From Ali Rıza Bey Mansion to an
Art Space

February 2022 - February 2023

With this project, the 274-year old Ali Rıza Bey Mansion, a historical monument registered in the Erzurum Council of Monuments, opened its doors to the public as a new art space under the name of NOVELİ. Noveli means “trace” in the rapidly disappearing Laz language. The project aimed to prolong the life of the almost three-century old Ali Rıza Bey Mansion with live sounds and ensure the continuation of cultural “traces” that have made it to contemporary times.

Within the scope of the project, the initial workshops at Noveli Art Space began with children’s choir, theatre and dance activities in actively spoken regional languages (mainly Laz language, Homshetsma and Georgian). Workshops at the space covered every aspect of daily life from science, arts, games, ecology, sports, maths, production, landscaping, drama, sewing, knitting, design, theatre, music, geometry, architecture, travel, nature, bird watching, recycling, dance and cooking. 

Noveli Art Space maintains a respectful approach towards all individuals and especially children for their unique capacity, curiosity and willingness to learn in alignment with their personal interests and needs. For Noveli Art Space, art is not something that you learn at designated hours from designated teachers. It is diffused into an evolving process to be discovered and enjoyed in every moment and aspect of life. Any stretch of time spent at Noveli Art Space opens up opportunities for asking questions and learning as well as observation and research.

Ali Rıza Bey Mansion
All photographs: Mümtaz Ural

The Project is brought to life by Sevilay Refika Kadıoğlu, known for her collected works on culture and art events in the East Black Sea region, and her teammates Tamer and Caner Karataş, who are also volunteers at the Gola Culture, Arts and Ecology Association.

Sevilay Refika Kadıoğlu

Born in Gölcük to civil servants, Sevilay Refika Kadıoğlu tried to discover her native culture during her summer travels to Fındıklı in Rize, where she heard her mother tongue Laz Language from her elders for the first time. After working in the tourism sector in Istanbul for a long time, she co-founded the Gola Culture, Arts and Ecology Association and organised the Green Yayla Culture, Arts and Environment Festival for a decade assuming the role of coordinator. Under the Gola framework, she found ways to bring herself closer to nature through her research and projects on the environment, traditional living practices, music and dance. She helped her mother tongue find its place within the contemporary linguistic landscape. She participated in traditional Laz music and dance compilations in Turkey and Georgia. In 2011, she released an album titled “Ar Lazi Oxorca/A Laz Woman" under the pseudonym Eka. Sevilay Refika Kadıoğlu is an informance artist who continues to follow the wisdom inherent in the ancient indigenous language of the Laz people, to think about nature and humans, to understand life and to share her knowledge with people through workshops and events.

Tamer ve Caner Karataş 

Born as twins in 1986 in Fındıklı, Rize, Tamer and Caner Karataş enjoy the benefits of having grown up in a wonderful village under the tutelage of a photographer father. After working in national and local media organisations, the Karataş brothers went back to their original profession as stage actors. They brought vivacity to the festivals they participated in as stage directors, presenters, facilitators of children’s workshops, dancers and, finally, as performing artists. Their social awareness raising video works on current issues such as violence towards women, substance abuse, child brides, animal rights and education awareness garnered a high number of views on social media. 

This page is published on 2 March 2022.
Last update: 4 March 2022