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Artist Feza Erkeller-Yüksel’s Cappadocia paintings

Artist Feza Erkeller-Yüksel’s Cappadocia paintings

After a long career in Medicine, Feza Erkeller-Yüksel has returned to her childhood passion of painting. She has been living in London since 1986, and this year has started painting Cappadocia, the birth place of her paternal grandparents. She has already exhibited these paintings at the 17@Insight Exhibition on 26-27th November in London and she is preparing for a more comprehensive exhibition. She has executed over 20 oil canvases of Cappadocia and some watercolour and ink studies including her grandparents portraits. She is keen to continue painting the same theme.

She is the granddaughter of Kel Osman from Ortahisar and Pembe Hanım from Bahçeli. Until March 2011 she had never been to the area, and only knew Cappadocia from photographes and her father’s poems. Her first painting was inspired by an internet image.
She says “Having lived abroad for so many years, I have become very interested in my family roots. This journey of course took me to Cappadocia. We are directly connected to Cappadocia, but I had never realised a connection with the place. I needed to visit the place for mysef.  My husband and I spend some time and travelled around the area in early Spring. I took hundreds of photos and made some sketches. The most important thing for me, was to be in this unusual landscape physically and feel the atmosphere, also try to see the place from the point of view of the local people. When I came back to England and started painting, it was with amazing passion and enthusiasm. I enjoyed recording the landscapes, the towns and the people who lived there and felt this linked history with nature.”

Ortahisar in a sunny day, Bahçeli village in the evening chill
“My surname, Erkeller, comes from my grandfather’s nick name, Kel Osman, which means bald Osman. When we arrived in Ortahisar (Middle Caste) it was a beautiful sunny day. The town was busy and cheerful. The cafe owner at the Castle was a local woman who was very fluent in German. We saw another woman who took her horse to the well for water and was chatting loudly with an acquaintance. I knew that my uncle ran a watermill here, maybe eighty years ago, but there was not enough time to search for it. I left this to another visit.
When we arrived to Bahçeli village (translated as, with gardens) the sun was setting. The place was bitterly cold and looked almost deserted. As we parked our rental car a couple came out to the street from the nearby house. I was shocked to learn they knew about my uncle and I found out that his wife came from the same village. This hospitable couple invited us to stay overnight.
It was also a moving experience for me to see this old village full of Greek and Armenian style houses and a mosque with a bell tower. I could not believe how my very authoritative grandmother, who scared her daughter in laws and grandchildren in İstanbul, came from this poor place surrounded by fairy chimneys.”

Short story of Mustafa Kemal supporter Kel Osman and Pembe Hanım
The artist’s grandfather Kel Osman from Ortahisar moved to İstanbul at the end of the 19th century to study at the high school. Later he became the chief of police force in the Galata area of İstanbul. During the last years of the Ottoman Empire the Sultan’s Palace and all the foreign legion were in this part of İstanbul. During the British Invasion, Kel Osman felt that his life was in danger due to his support for Atatürk’s revolutionary army. He took his young family on the Tatla boat and escaped to Samsun by the Black Sea. The family had a long journey to Cappadocia on ox pulled carts. They stayed in the safety of their homeland and then moved to Ankara where he worked in the first police force of the new capital. They moved back to Istanbul after a few years due to ill health and Pembe Hanım raised her children as a young widow.

She is İpek Çalışlar’s sister
The artist’s sister is a well known writer, İpek Çalışlar, was invited to Cappadocia in March 2010 for the st Avanos-Kızılırmak Culture and Art Days. She has written the biography of Atatürk’s wife “Latife Hanım” and also “Halide Edib”, another prominent woman of the early 20th century Turkish politics. Çalışlar mentioned her grandfather’s roots in her speech and remembering the links with M. Kemal because there was a framed photograph of him in the family living room with Atatürk and Latife Hanım side by side. This picture inspired her to research Latife Hanım’s life.

“Majority of the British Public have not heard of Cappadocia”
The majority of the British public have not heard about Cappadocia. Listening to Feza’s stories and seeing her paintings makes the viewer want to visit Cappodocia for themselves. The artist is looking forward to her next exhibition at the Highgate’s Lauderdale House between 11-26th June. She would also love to have an exhibition in Cappadocia, but a requires a sponsor to realize this dream.

Who is Feza Erkeller-Yüksel?
Feza was born in İstanbul Turkey. She had to emigrate to London with her husband Bülend and daughter Beste in 1986 for political reasons. After working as a doctor for 30 years she has decided fulfill her passion in painting. She attended numerous art courses in the UK and France. She enjoys painting in oil and pastels. She has exhibited her paintings in and around London. She has painted the human form in the past but has been concentrating on Cappodocia work recently. She is planning to carry on painting family roots from İstanbul, Ionnina and Roussou. She constantly travels between London, İstanbul and Göcek where mixture of cultures and source of inspiration is abundant.

You can follow her progress and look up her paintings in her website www.fezaerkeller.com

Reading Reading: 20171 Eklenme Tarihi Date: 2011-12-13

"Bahçeli"

"Ortahisar"

"Natural Habitat-Güzelyurt"

"Dali face-Zelve"

"Fairy chimney with two heads-Çavuşin"

"Fairy chimney with three heads-Çavuşin"

"Front door"

"Fairy chimneys at night-Ürgüp"

"Pink Valley"

"The Edge" Uçhisar

"Fairy chimneys" Uçhisar
Feza Erkeller-Yüksel
Feza Erkeller-Yüksel


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