Text: Cem Kayıran
“In every voice, in every face, in every place. Can you hear it?
Prior to this year’s 27th Akbank Jazz Festival, a special project by 21 artists from different disciplines will be brought to life. Varying disciplines including photography, illustration, stained glass, video and collage will together forge the theme of “State of Jazz in the City,” one which identifies with the Akbank Jazz Festival. These works will make their debut on the festival’s official social media accounts and will prepare the city for the festival.
There are two foreign artists involved in the multi-disciplinary project brought together via the curation of Bant Magazine. One of them is Senon Williams, bassist of Los Angeles-based indie-rock group Radar Bros. and guitarist of psychedelic pop group Dengue Fever. Williams, who has recently began to bring his visual works to a wide audience, had two individual exhibitions in Los Angeles last year. Williams, who creates a unique visual narrative language by bringing together word games and pictures, brings forth a “search for the truth” with his work. Having visited Istanbul numerous times as a guest of Bant Magazine, Williams will look at the city differently under the “State of Jazz in the City” motif. He masterfully weaves subtexts and metaphors into his works.
Another name involved with the project is Caleb Leeon, who is among one of the world’s most iconic street art figures. Having previously been apart of various works in Hatay and Istanbul, Neelon from the mid-90’s up until now has produced many visible graffiti art projects and publications. Apart from being a street artist, Neelon from a young age has searched for the best ways to bring street art culture to a wider audience, and has produced numerous fanzines and short videos. The artist, who worked in the mid-90’s under the moniker SONIK, is also the author of a number of books that have become important sources on graffiti art. His first book Graffiti Brasil was released in 2005 together with the Brazilian collective Lost Art and the UK-based artist Tristan Manco, and Neelon continued with various collaborations in the ensuing years, putting his signature on six more eye-opening books on graffiti and street art. Neelon, who has given life to streets and walls all over the world with his characteristic illustrations, brings work that blends with Istanbul and jazz as a guest of Akbank Jazz Festival’s special project.
In the “State of Jazz in the City” themed project, there are a number of artists involved who have left their mark on jazz, rock and pop in Turkey. Korhan Futacı, Berke Can Özcan, Yasemin Mori, and Ceylan Ertem, who have previously brought forth their visual works in various exhibitions and publications, will this time materialize their relationships with music and the city with visual expressions.
Other names who have appeared in the pages of Bant Magazine in addition to other different publications and exhibitions in recent year, gaining attention in the world of illustration include Sadi Güran, Murat Palta, Naz Tansel, Burak Dak and Berkay Dağlar. Prior to the 27th annual Akbank Jazz Festival, they will be interpreting the theme of “State of Jazz in the City” via their illustrations. One of the participating artists, Murat Palta focuses on Turkish culture and jazz instruments and artist Berkay Dağlar takes the harmony of sounds as an inspiration. In her works produced for the Akbank Jazz Festival using various techniques, Hale Güngör Oppenheimer, builds a new rhythm for the city. The secret beauty and peace of the city’s chaos rises to the surface in the new houses on the roof of the fortress and the sky of the boats and the fish in the Bosphorus.
The project, with its utilization of different formats including stained glass, will add to the strong wind of jazz blowing with the Akbank Jazz Festival. Follow these works as they will be shared during the in between July 17th – August 27th on official social media accounts of Akbank Sanat!
The 21 artists who will be interpreting the theme of “State of Jazz in the City” with their visual works can be viewed below:
Berke Can Özcan
Hale Güngör Oppenheimer