Explore your world
Çanakkale Biennial Cancelled In Face of Political Unrest In Turkey

Çanakkale Biennial Cancelled In Face of Political Unrest In Turkey

Picture of Feride Yalav-Heckeroth
Updated: 21 December 2016
The organizers of the fifth Çanakkale Biennial have announced that the event has been cancelled. According to the press release, made available by the event organizers, both the current political situation and the resignation of Meral Madra, director of CABINN (the civil initiative that has been organizing the event since 2008) was at the core of this decision.


Peter Aerschmann: ‘From A to B’ | Courtesy of The Çanakkale Biennial

The event was to feature the work more than 40 international artists (many of whom are immigrants or from immigrant families) under the theme of ‘migration’. The event organizers expressed deep gratitude for the support of the Çanakkale municipality, the Republic of Turkey Ministry of Culture and Tourism, artists, participants, and supporters and dedicated the unrealized Biennial to we ‘all the people who have been expelled from their homelands’.

The organizers stated that they were ‘deeply saddened by the current political atmosphere, which does not place art as a primary point of concern’, and that Madra’s willingly leaving her position was due to the ‘prioritization of political agendas in the public sphere’. The Çanakkale Biennial also stated that due to the current political situation and the ‘sensitive atmosphere caused by the realities that surround us today’, they decided to cancel the event, having lost their ‘ability and enthusiasm to carry out the Biennale in line with [their] most vital values’.

Norayr Kasper: ‘I will talk to you about time…’ | Courtesy of The Çanakkale Biennial

For the fifth biennial, global issues had been planned to be on the forefront working under the title ‘Homeland’, and focusing on themes of global emigration, refugees, and exile. The works (including graphic and industrial design, photojournalism, documentary film-making, and contemporary art) of more than 40 celebrated artists from all over the world had been set to be on display for locals and visitors at venues throughout Çanakkale’s center.