The Mahalla festival, initiated by the Dialogue Association with international partners, was launched in 2017, parallel program of the Istanbul Art Biennial. Around 30 artists from 12 countries participate in the festival, which is held for the fourth time this year. The main venue of the festival is Yeldeğirmeni Art Center.

Written and translated by Sedef İlgiç & Emine Selcen Altındal

From Maltese artist Rafael Vella's "Suitable Citizens" Installation © istanbulberlin

Solidarity with Art Against Exclusion Practices

In the festival, which is themed around "Murmuration", the word that expresses the flock behavior of birds, feelings of homelessness, desolation and exclusion are evident in the works. In the face of these feelings, the festival creates a sense of belonging by establishing a neighborhood with various art spaces in Kadıköy.

From Where to Where

There are interactive events at the festival to reinforce the feeling of belonging to a community.

An artist initiative from Çanakkale, Sub, made an installation "From Where to Where" that is an example of a work that invites the audience to participate. You can add your own migration route with a needle and thread on the giant world water map, which is turned upside down.

Sub'dan Derin Uludağ ve İlayda Tunca, "Nereden Nereye?" çalışmasının önünde © istanbulberlin

Derin Uludağ and İlayda Tunca from Sub, in front of "From Where to Where" installation © istanbulberlin

We would like to highlight three events of the festival that will take place with the participation of artists from Germany:

On September 14 at 18.00, guitarist Lucian Plessner's "A Journey in the History of Jewish Music" event will take place to bring the music of Jewish composers from 1000 years ago to Yeldeğirmeni Art Center.

Mobile State Coming from Berlin to Istanbul

Two contemporary artists, Manaf Halbouni and Christian Mass, will declare their vehicles the first mobile state and set off for Istanbul on September 15 at the Pariser Platz Allianz Forum in Berlin.

The route of this journey is the same the route that has been followed by the workers who went to Germany from Turkey to spend their summer holidays in Turkey since the 60s.

Mobilistan © Christian Manss

Mobilistan © Christian Manss

This art project “Mobilistan” is an artistic intervention in the public space, asking questions about the state, borders, freedom of travel. The artists will organize events such as actions, public interventions, visa and citizenship applications for Mobilistan at different stops along the way. The closing of the festival will be held on September 25 with the arrival of Mobilistan in Istanbul.

Manaf Halbouni & Christian Manss © Anne Manss

Manaf Halbouni & Christian Manss © Anne Manss

Known in Turkish with his book of collections of writing by Erich Auerbach "Yabanın Tuzlu Ekmeği" [The Salty Bread of Wilderness] academician Martin Vialon will be giving an online lecture on Migration and Exile. To attend the event the link to zoom is here..

You can find the detailed program of the festival on the Mahalla website and on the Instagram page.

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