SINOPIA Contemporary Art Exhibition

Museum of Anatolian Civilizations
November 23-27, 2023
Opening. November 23, 2023 – 18.00

Curated by Ekin Kılıç Ezer and Müge Mengü Hale

Since antiquity, pigments have been a source of fascination and creativity, some of them gaining a special reputation for their attractive colors and the exquisite results that they could provide. Among these pigments, miltos sinopensis, called “red earth” in ancient texts, was a multipurpose pigment extracted from quarries in Cappadocia and traded from the harbor of Sinope. Its reputation lasted for so long that even in the Renaissance the red outlines made on frescoes before painting were called “sinopia”. It is possible to identify today this pigment as the “yoşa” of Cappadocia, which has been used through time on the frescoes of the churches and on the facades of the dovecotes. Today the potters of Avanos dilute it to decorate their vases.

Sinopia Contemporary Art Exhibition consists of artworks created by contemporary artists based on the famous sinopia pigment produced from the red earth of Anatolia.

The artists who distilled the red earth sent from Cappadocia in their own studios to obtain the Sinopia pigment, have interpreted this special color through their unique artistic styles, transforming it into contemporary works of art in various media such as sculpture, painting, ceramics and textiles.

Each piece created using this precious pigment unique to Anatolian soil, offers a glimpse into Anatolia’s fascinating history and serves as a reminder of the reputation of the color sinopia.

Artists and Artworks:

Mahsa Fatemi Alavi / Echoes of Forebears

Echoes of Forebears
42 x 92 cm
Sinopia pigments as color, and rapid pen for drawing lines.

Echoes of Eternity,
By Wisdom and Strength in a Single Hue’s Embrace
Coming from Ancestors…

Mahsa Fatemi Alavi was born in April 1991 in Tabriz-Iran. Since childhood, she has been interested in art, and her artistic journey started with music by playing “setar”- one of the traditional instruments in Iran. For her academic studies, she started her path in architecture, and while studying this field, she got to know one of the famous architects in Iran named “Houshand Seyhoon.” His line sketches inspired her to start sketching by lines. Through her experiences in music and the art of improvisation, she also tried to use the technique of improvising in her paintings through colors and lines. Her paintings were exhibited in her solo exhibition in Iran (2017), Turkey (2019), the Middle Eastern Art Festival (2020), an online group exhibition in Istanbul-IAAF-(2021), the Mother Earth NFT exhibition (2021), Bilkent FADA Academic Staff exhibition in Ankara (2023),
Ateliers Exhibition at Galerim-Ankara (2023).

She is doing a Ph.D. in interior architecture at Bilkent University, following her art life by continuing her abstract paintings. As a self-taught artist, she always likes new challenges and examines novel techniques to find the best way to paint.

Emrah Anik / Geometric Slip, Crackle Bowl, Slender Slip

Geometric Slip / Crackle Bowl / Slender Slip
Various size – 3 pieces
Ceramics. Wheel throwing. Earthenware off white clay body.  Fired at 1040 degrees Celsius. 
1. Glaze made from Sinopia Pigment over Slip made from rough Sinopia pigment
2. Slip from sinopia pigment with silicon silicate
3. Sinopia Slip

Emrah Anik (1984 Ankara) Graduated From LAUD department of Bilkent University in 2009. Worked for a few years in the navigation mapping industry. Started pottery in 2018 in a private studio.Learned basic wheel throwing from Rafettin Güner. Currently living in Ankara, working as a potter in his home studio under the name silica ceramic and  giving basic wheel throwing lessons in mee ceramics. 

Elif Atılır / The Shape on my wall

The Shape on my wall
50 x 98 cm
Styrofoam, Cement, Glue, Acrylic, Sinopia Pigment Paint

Part of my work is to analyze the shapes I think about as forms on different surfaces with different materials. Before working with Sinopia, the symbols on church walls I encountered while looking at places where pigment was used in the past became the starting point of my work. I created my own wall with the painting I made on the surface I created with cement, and I drew my own shapes on this wall with sinopia.

Elif Atılır graduated from Hacettepe University, Faculty of Fine Arts, Department of Painting in 2023. Atılır, who participated in many group exhibitions, is also a member of the Selektör Collective. The artist, who has been producing pools with water motor systems in her recent works, has been working with the surface for a while. Through her works that concerned with surface, she thinks about shape as form and looks at the relationship between literal shape and the depicted shape. While interrogating this relationship, she is influenced by the semiotics. The artist continues her productions in Ankara.

Birsu S. Hoşrik Çeltek / Abundance, The Ritual, The Visit, The Oblation

1. Abundance I – 29.7×42 cm, mixed media, 2023

2. Abundance II – 29.7×42 cm, mixed media, 2023

3. The Ritual – 17.5×21 cm, ink, 2023

4. The Visit – 27×18 cm, ink, 2023

5. The Oblation – 22×23.5 cm, ink, 2023

6. Abundance III – 24×31 cm, mixed media, 2023

Sinopia pigments as color, and ..

Museum of Anatolian Civilizations is a special place for me. I take my drawing class and tell my students to explore the figures, forms, motifs as they make their drawingsin their sketchbooks. I have visited this place a lot over many years and became familiar with the figurines, stamps, repeating forms of especially the Neolithic period. As I received this special pigment, Sinopia, which had been extensively used throughout art history and taken different names, shades and uses, I wanted to reflect on my drawings and explore the ephemeral quality of my memories of the abundant artifacts in the museum.  I depended on my experimental playfulness and tried to came up with my own interpretations. 

Birsu S. Hoşrik Çeltek was born in 1976 in Ankara. She graduated from TED Ankara College in 1994. She earned her B.Sc. degree in Chemistry and M.Sc. degree in Biochemistry from the Chemistry Department of Middle East Technical University. In 2001, she started studying graphic design in Bilkent University and had her degree of BFA in Graphic Design in 2005.

She has more than 15 years of experience working as a freelance designer and design consultant in various UNDP projects in UN, Turkey.

In 2008, she started her teaching career as an instructor in Graphic Design Department, Bilkent University. Among the courses she teaches are Drawing, Illustration and History of Art. Her main areas of interest are drawing, printmaking and painting.

Fatma Çiftçi / Amazon Warriors

Amazon Warriors (self portrait)
60 x100 cm
Sinopia pigments on fabric.

Fatma Çiftçi is an Ankara based artist. Çiftçi develops her projects by using found objects and images, and edits her daily life experiences through them. She interprets different materials and prepares a series of works with an ironic and critical approach. She also gained experience to transform traditional handcrafts that she was familiar since her childhood into a new production process. Apart from Spinster Who Stayed at Home, which was most recently exhibited at the Goethe Institute Gallery Vitrin, Çiftçi has had solo exhibitions including Spike Island (Bristol-England), Masa Proje (Istanbul) and Goyang Art Studios (Seoul-Korea). Group shows include In the Topography of the Irregular Mind, Roumelie Han (İstanbul-Turkey), Şebeke, Center d’art, Maison Des Arts (Cajarc-France), Freekick-9th International İstanbul Bienial, Hospitality Zone (İstanbul- Turkey), Affording an Opportunity, K2 Art Centre (İzmir, Turkey). Residency programs and workshops include
PiST/// Research and Production Residency: PIRPIR (İstanbul-Turkey), MAISONS DAURA, International Artists Residences, Maison Des Arts Georges Pompidou (Cajarc- France), Spike Island-Platform Garanti CAC Production Residency (Bristol-UK), and Asian Artists Fellowship Program, Goyang Art Studio (Seoul-Korea).

Elif Varol Ergen / Ishtar, Queen of the Night

Ishtar, Queen of the Night
33 x48 cm
Sinopia pigments as color, ink and collage on paper.

Inanna is known as the oldest of the mother goddess cults in the Middle East. Representative of love, war and night, she was the first Sumerian goddess of fertility. Her jeweled and serene goblet-shaped form was worshipped as early as 7000 BC. She is known as the queen of the night, goddess of nocturnal animals and all things dark.She evolved into Kybele, the first mother goddess cult in Phrygia.

Artist and illustrator Elif Varol Ergen received her BA, MA and PhD degrees from Hacettepe University, Department of Graphics. She conducted academic research on contemporary illustration at Hogeschool Gent, Belgium and Berlin Academy of Fine Arts (UDK). She participated in numerous art events, exhibitions and illustration events abroad. She has five national and international awards in illustration and design. She is an Assoc. prof. in Hacettepe University Fine Arts, Graphic Department.

Hüseyin Erol / Turn off if unnecessary / Gereksizse Söndür … !!!

Turn off if unnecessary / Gereksizse Söndür … !!!
50 x 70 x 35 cm
Sheet metal, stoneware, mixed media

Hüseyin Erol was born in 1990.

Went to school. Because of the wrong education system, he did not like school. He played in the streets. He learned life in the frost. He loves Ankara. He started to express himself, his dreams and ideas through aesthetics. He sees no need for fancy, exaggerated and vulgar information.

Ekin Kılıç Ezer / Lambs with Henna (Kınalı Kuzular)

Lambs with Henna / Kınalı Kuzular
90 x 110 cm
Sinopia pigments as color, xerox, marker, B&W blueprint , epoxy.

Ekin Kılıç Ezer (1979, Ankara) graduated from Bilkent University FADA Department of Graphic Design in 2002; she completed her Master’s Degree and Proficiency in Art programs in Hacettepe University FFA, Department of Graphics. Kılıç Ezer continued to academic studies in Başkent University Department of Communication Design (2003-2006) and Hacettepe University Department of Graphics (2006-2012) as Research Assistant; she has been working at Bilkent University FADA Department of Graphic Design as an Instructor since 2012. 

Kılıç Ezer is one of the founders of Kitschen Contemporary Art Initiative and Kolketif Molektif Streetart Project. In 2019, she had her first solo show; in addition to her participation in many group exhibitions. 

Kılıç Ezer practices as a curator and designs exhibition visual identities as well as various graphic design projects and performs in the fields of video, typography and street art. #ekinklch

Murad Gürzumar / Ürgüp Capadocia

Ürgüp Capadocia
90 x 120 cm (2 pieces)
Printing from 35mm Black&White film onto photographic paper using analog darkroom method.

Murad Gurzumar teaching Image Editing, Basic and advanced photography courses in Bilkent University FADA Department of Graphic Design. He was teaching at METU before joining Bilkent University; a graduate of Ankara University and N.Y.I.P New York Institute of Photography. As a professional art director and industrial photographer, he showcased in several national and international exhibitions.

Atilla İlkyaz / The Wedding

The Wedding
64 x 139 cm
Patch on felt.

Atilla İlkyaz graduated in 1983 from the Painting Department of Gazi Faculty of Education in Ankara. He received his Master’s Degree in 1987 from the Faculty of Fine Arts in Hacettepe University where he had his Proficiency in Art degree in 1991. He pursued his studies in art in Florence through the scholarship granted by Italian Government in 1988, in Cluj – Napoca through the scholarship granted by Romanian Government in 1998, and in Budapest through the scholarship granted by Hungarian Government in 2000. He worked as a professor at the Fine Arts Faculty, International Balkan University, Skopje, Macedonia in 2010. Currently, he works as a professor in Art and Design Faculty at Ankara H.B.V University,

Füsun Kavalcı / Woman with Sinopia Pot

Sinopia Çömlekli Kadın / Woman with Sinopia Pot
32 x 15 x 12cm
Free Forming, Sinopia pigments as color, and Stoneware clay fired at 1200 degrees

Füsun Kavalcı Born in 1963, Illinois. Since 1970 she lived in Ankara. Her favourite as a child was to eat chick pea powder she got from the local store. She played marble in the streets. She carried out social and artistic projects with her students in this city. She preferred Ankara to Istanbul, she wandered around the city always. She has recently started a rehabilitation program for the children in local prison with her students, she undertook street art with her students as well. She is currently living in Ankara. 2023.

Nina Kertselli / Untitled

30 x 42 cm / 8 parts
Mixed media with Sinopia pigment

I never knew how to explain my artwork. I think the keyword is ‘’seeing’’. There are things I suddenly see, and I feel the urge to show them to others, just the way I see them. What these things are, I cannot tell; they could be anything. Whatever little poetry happens to be there in the first place – I prefer that it stays there, just the way it is, so that everyone could interpret it the way he or she wants.

Nina Kertselli was born and raised in Moscow. She received her BA and MA from MARCHI (Moscow Architectural Institute). In 1994 she moved to NY where she worked as a freelance artist and designer and later in 2001, to Turkey, where she taught at the Fine Arts Department of Bilkent University. She returned to Moscow in 2008, where she became a member of the Union of Artists of Russian Federation and worked as Assistant Director at Open Gallery until in 2010, when she joined Faculty of Fine Arts and Design of Izmir University of Economics (IEU), Department of Visual Communication. During the last thirty years of her journey as an artist, she participated in more than 40 group exhibitions in numerous countries and executed 8 personal exhibitions and several curatorial projects. She lives and works in Izmir.

İdil Mirata / Zeitgeist

Zeitgeist / Zamanın Ruhu
Various size

Performance-art installation with sinopia pigment, cloth and fired clay body-parts


İdil Mirata was born in Nicosia, Cyprus. After her primary education at the English College in Nicosia, she completed her Interior Design Diploma program at the London College of Furniture, in England. She lived in Germany, Portugal and Israel (1983-2000) during her husband’s diplomatic missions, where she had close contact with different traditions and cultures. She continued to study various methods of art in all of those countries as an enthusiast, yet in 2005 she started her BA in Fine Arts at the Bilkent University, where she graduated as valedictorian. In 2013 she had her MA, and in 2018 she completed her Ph.D both in Sculpture at the Hacettepe University in Ankara. In 2016 she had her solo exhibition at Cer-Modern and participated at many group exhibitions in Ankara, Berlin and Hong Kong.

“Awarded to Admirable Artist in Sculpture, 2016” Awards in Plastic Arts, Institute of Arts, Ankara.   

“Awarded to Honorable Mention” “Culture of Living Together” 2016  Turkish Republic Ministry of  Culture and Tourism, Ankara.  

Books and Articles published:

“Sanat Ölüm Erotizm” (Art Death Erotism) Dorlion Edition, Ankara, 2019.

“Ten-Tin Acının Halleri” (Body-Soul Forms of Pain) Rh+ Art Magazine,  November, 2016.

“Sanatta Acıyı Deneyimleme ve Eylemsel Mutilasyon” (Experiencing Pain and Self Mutilation in Art) Rh+ Art Magazine, March 2016.

(Original Article, 3 parts:  www.kolajart.com –  April, May, June 2016.)  

Fırat Payan / At Göbeklitepe

At Göbeklitepe
150 x 100 cm
Wood-block print

This ancient place, built by skillfully processing stone blocks, symbolizes the beginning of civilization.  Sinopia color reflects the richness and depth of the past.  These two symbols are identified as ways to look at the history of humanity with respect and admiration.

Fırat Payan was born in Iğdır.  He received his primary, secondary and high school education in Iğdır.  He studied painting at Iğdır Fine Arts High School.  He completed his undergraduate education at Hacettepe University Faculty of Fine Arts, which he won in 2018, and continues his master’s degree at the same institution. The artist has participated in 2 personal, mixed and competition exhibitions so far.

Elvan Serin / Untitled

These pieces are the experimental Works on the color sinopia. There is an aim to create formations which refer to depth, richness and past by applying the sinopia color to dynamic and interfered patterns.

33 x 27 cm and 37 x 26 cm
Ceramics, Sinopia pigments as color.


Elvan Serin (1985, İzmir) received her B.A. from Bilkent University, Department of Fine Arts in 2009. Then she had her MFA from Yeditepe University Plastic Arts Department and proficiency in arts from Hacettepe University, Department of Sculpture in 2021. She is currently living and working in Ankara, and participating in the national and international artistic activities such as exhibitions, residencies and workshops.

Aslı Smith / Untitled

65 x 88 cm
Mixed media, cotton paper, sinopia pigment, natural ink from madder, mineral salts, lemon salt, rust.

Created as a paper tapestry to complement the slow and contemplative process of extracting color from nature, this work is an exploration on the earth pigment Sinopia  – from  the extraction of color to examining its interaction with other natural dyes, binders, mineral salts and rust –  with the intention of weaving together an earth palette in a spectrum of shades and forming a deeper connection with the natural elements.

Asli Smith is an artist and multi-disciplinary designer based in New York. Asli’s works take inspiration from narratives of urban nature, folklore, memory/a sense of a place, as well as traditional forms of craftsmanship, using materials and printmaking techniques that contemplate a connection with the environment.

For her paintings, she transforms plants, food waste, earth and stones through a variety of techniques such as steaming and boiling into sustainable art supplies. Asli reconstructs this richness of nature with a systematic randomness and a delicate balance through her explorations on color, pattern and texture.

Asli holds master’s degrees in Communications Design from Pratt Institute and on Media studies from the New School in NYC. She has also completed the Fine Arts program at Parsons School of Design.


Numan Seven / Anatolian Woman

Anatolian Woman
30 x 30 cm
Sinopia pigments as color, Oil on wood panel.

This artwork is an experimental work that aims to reveal the tonal richness of sinopia pigment. The figure depicted is an Anatolian woman representing the ancient Anatolian land and civilisations from the past to the present.

Numan Seven He was born in Ankara/Turkey, in 1984. He graduated from the Department of Painting of Fine Arts Faculty at Hacettepe University in 2006. He opened his first solo exhibition in 2016. He worked on the restoration of oil painting during the reopening of the Ankara Painting and Sculpture Museum in 2020. In 2022, he completed his master’s degree at Hacettepe University Fine Arts Institute Painting Department with his thesis titled “Mysterious, Magical and Strange Images”. He still lives in Ankara and continues his work in his studio.

Banu Bulduk Türkmen / Cave interpretation

1. Cave interpretation
50 x 50 cm
Experimental Calligraphy / Sinopia pigments as color on paper.

2. Twin Idol
48 x 70 cm
Experimental Calligraphy / Sinopia pigments as color on paper.

Banu Bulduk Türkmen graduated from Ankara Anatolian Fine Arts High School, department of painting in 2001 and graduated in 2005 from department of Graphic Design Faculty of Fine Arts at Hacettepe University with a degree. She completed master’s degree at Hacettepe University in 2010. In 2012, she received “Hacettepe University Art Encouragement Award”. She completed her Proficiency in Art Thesis at Hacettepe University Graphic Department in 2015. She participated in group exhibitions. She opened five solo exhibitions. She worked as research assistant at in Hacettepe University Faculty of Fine Arts, department of Graphic between the years 2008-2016. She worked as a lecturer in the same department between the years 2016-2018. She was appointed Assistant Proffesor in 2018 and received the title of Associate Professor in the same year. She has been the curator of the International Calligraphy Exhibition in 2019 and 2020 and organized comprehensive exhibitions. She has been working as an associate professor in the Graphics Department since 2019. Bulduk Türkmen, studies in the fields of calligraphy, illustration, scientific illustration, calligraphic illustration, interactive media design and drawing.

Hasan Doğan Yılmaz / Untitled


Hasan Yılmaz. He completed his undergraduate education at Hacettepe University, Faculty of Fine Arts, Department of Painting in 2014. In 2019, he wrote his thesis titled “Visual analysis on pictorial tapestry as a culture object ” and graduated from the master’s program of the same school. The artist, who thinks about cultural objects, expresses his problem with his 3D prints, video animations and paintings, in addition to his interventions on tapestries. The artist, who participated in various group exhibitions, opened his first personal exhibition titled “It Includes the Old” in 2022. The artist continues his work at his own studio in Ankara.

Beata Zalewska/ what the eyes don’t want to see

what the eyes don’t want to see
Various size, ceramic installation

Born in Poland, Beata Zalewska graduated in Painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdańsk and also studied Graphic Design at Hochschule für Künste Bremen, Germany. She worked in Gdańsk for several years as a graphic designer longing for her destiny and dedication which is painting. When she moved with her family to Turkey to work at Bilkent University in Ankara as an Art Instructor she finally met her muse again. Atmosphere, colours and places are a huge inspiration for Zalewska, they leave a lasting impression and move her imagination. Travelling around the country, visiting ancient ruins and the mythic, fairytale Cappadocia, she tries to recall mysterious images from the past. A camera which is her sketching tool has become her time vehicle. She hopes that anyone who decides to visit her webpage or see her exhibited works will have the pleasure of joining her in her journey. She also hopes that her fascination with art, nature, people and history will be or has already been highly contagious to her lovely children, her students, her friends and everyone who wants to accompany her on her mystical journey.