At any given time throughout the year, there are different types of exhibitions on at Fethiye Culture Centre; otherwise known as ‘the blue building.’ Sometimes it’s local artists displaying their latest work, textile creations or pottery – and other times, it can be a local school exhibiting the results of recent projects or performing a play. Last week’s exhibits were a little bit different however, and we have a friend to thank for letting us know about it.
When we think of the Ottoman Empire, we think of the grand, ornate palaces and mosques of Istanbul, Edirne and Bursa. We think priceless jewels, riches, harems and sultans, battles and empire.
For me, it’s romantic and mystical and, until reading Louis de Bernieres’ Birds Without Wings, I’d never really considered the lives of ordinary people outside the Sultan’s circle.
Last week’s small exhibition at Fethiye Culture Centre provided us with a little visual taster of life in Ottoman times in the form of black and white photos taken by Professor John Garstang at the turn of the 20th Century.
According to the information provided at the exhibition, John Garstang was an archaeologist from the University of Liverpool who pioneered the use of photography for recording finds. His main focus was the Hittites but, fortunately for us, he also photographed the local people he employed and those he came across along the way.
We were given permission to take photos as we walked around the exhibition so I took some shots of our favourite boards. A lot of the information about the exact location of where the photos were taken has been lost but it doesn’t take away from the interest in these images.
Photo 1 (above left) is labelled Man on a Donkey and we love his curled up Ottoman shoes.
Photo 2 (above top right) is Professor John Garstang and colleagues enjoying a picnic during a dig. Doesn’t the scene just look so English? He’s carrying out a dig but still wearing a suit.
Photo 3 (above bottom right) just made us smile. It’s a photo of nomadic ladies going about their weaving – but obviously enjoying posing for the camera.
I took the two photos above just because you can see so much detail in the types of clothing people wore. If you’d like a closer look, don’t forget, you can click on the photo to make it bigger.
This small exhibition of photos at Fethiye Culture Centre closed yesterday but, if you’re in the UK, you haven’t missed out. There is a full version running till 2013 at Victoria Gallery and Museum at the University of Liverpool.
For those of us in Turkey, the Museum of Anatolian Civilisations in Ankara houses some of the Hittite discoveries made by John Garstang.
(Permission was given to take photos of the exhibition. All photo boards were printed in Fethiye by Kandiye Foto and copyright belongs to the University of Liverpool.)