Kayıhan Keskinok

Who is Kayıhan Keskinok? (1923- Izmir-2015 Ankara)

He created works that reflect the characteristics of different social periods, such as paintings depicting the Epic of Kuvayi Milliye, amusement park paintings, paintings depicting Black Sea weddings, kidnappings, and Gezi Park events. He educated many students.
His works can be found in the Izmir and Ankara Painting and Sculpture Museums, the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, the Potiçelli City Artists Colony Museum in Yugoslavia, and the collections of some other official institutions and private collections in Turkey.
He was born in 1923 in the Karataş neighborhood of Izmir. His father is a pharmacist and his mother is a member of a family of carpet makers from Uşak, one of the last generation of carpet makers. He lived in Uşak with his family until he was 7 years old, when they moved to Uşak in 1926. After his father started working at the State Railways, the family left Uşak and moved to Adana.
Keskinok received his primary education at Gazipaşa Primary School in Uşak, Karapınar Primary School in Belemedik and İsmet İnönü Primary School in Adana. His interest in painting began when he was studying at İnönü Primary School. He started attending Adana 1st Secondary School in 1935. He studied in the same class with Yaşar Kemal during his secondary school period in Adana. After secondary school, he enrolled in Teacher Training School. He graduated from Adana Teacher Training School in 1941. In the 1941-1942 academic year, he worked as a teacher in Iğdır, which was then a district of Kars.

He studied at the Painting Department of Ankara Gazi Education Institute between 1942 and 1945. He worked in the workshops of Refik Epikman, Malik Aksel and Hakkı İzzet. He was influenced by Epikman’s style based on Cezanne’s aesthetics; He mostly painted landscapes. In addition to his painting education, he improved himself by taking advantage of Ankara’s cultural opportunities.

He worked as an art teacher in secondary education institutions in different parts of Turkey between 1948 and 1955. While he was working at Boğazlıyan Secondary School, he turned to painting about people with the advice of Rıfat Ilgaz, who was a Turkish teacher at the same school. After Ilgaz's suggestion, he almost never did landscaping again.

He did military service as an infantry mortarman in 1947. His curiosity and love for horses entered his life during this period. After completing his military service, he worked as a teacher in Giresun's Görele district between 1948 and 1950. His life in Görele was influential in his focus on figures in his works and in seeing folkloric events in his paintings. The sea and waves, which entered his paintings during this period, served as material for his works for a long time.
After the Ministry of National Education opened an investigation due to a New Year's Eve ball he organized, he was assigned to Kars High School and had to leave Görele. Six months later, he was appointed to Trabzon High School at his own request. He married his fiancee, teacher Neriman Kandazoğlu, in the same year (1950); He had four children from this marriage.

About 30 of his students at Trabzon High School, where he worked for ten years, became well-known painters in the future. Some of these students are Atilla Galatalı, Bedri Baykam, Burhan Uygur, Memet Asatekin, Mustafa Ata, Muzaffer Akyol, Osman Akbau, Süleyman Saim Tekcan, Yusuf Katipoğlu. During his teaching years in Trabzon, he reviewed Cezanne's unique working style. He gained a fauvist quality in his paintings and increasingly turned towards the abstract. He also reflected the topics and legends about the Trabzon region in his paintings. He painted murals on the restaurant wall of Trabzon's historical Yeşilyurt Hotel, and in the meeting hall of Gümüşhane Teacher Training School, as well as the Trabzon High School Grown Ups Association.

He opened his first personal exhibition in 1956 at the Small Exhibition Hall of the Faculty of Languages, History and Geography in Ankara. He went to Lausanne in 1960 with a scholarship from the Swiss government. He studied form grammar at the Lausanne School of Fine Arts and worked as an assistant. He had the opportunity to visit museums in Italy and France.
After returning from Switzerland, Keskinok worked as a painting and art history teacher at Ankara Kurtuluş High School for a year. In 1963, he was appointed as an art teacher to the Painting and Crafts Department of Gazi Education Institute and introduced the "Form and Construction" course into the education program for the first time.
In 1968, he received a three-year leave from the Ministry of National Education to work in an advertising company; However, when he wanted to return to Gazi Education Institute again, his appointment did not take place. Thereupon, the artist, who started working at TRT Television's Artistic Services Branch in 1970, retired from this institution in 1980, where he worked as a decorator and manager.
He continued his painting works during his working life at TRT; He produced series of paintings on the themes of unplanned urbanization, slums, nightclubs, bars, belly dancers and Black Sea weddings. In 1970, he was among the founders of the United Painters and Sculptors Association. He designed the logo of the association.[3] His articles, mostly on visual aesthetics, were published in the magazine called Sanat, published by the association.[1] In 1973, he won the Achievement Award at the 34th State Art Exhibition with his painting "Festival", which deals with the return from the plateaus, and he won the "Atatürk and the Republic" with his painting "Production Kıvancı" in the Painting and Sculpture Competition organized by the Ministry of Culture on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Republic. " Award, and the Special Jury Prize with his painting "Kayı Circus" at the 7th DYO Painting Exhibition.
He opened his second personal exhibition, "People and People", at the Cumalı Art Gallery in Istanbul in January 1976. He opened many exhibitions in the same gallery in the following years. In the late 1970s, amusement parks began to be among the subjects of his paintings. At the end of 1978, "Amusement Park" was opened. He was deemed worthy of the 39th State Exhibition Award with his work. Since 1979, fairy-tale elements also entered his paintings.
After his retirement, he worked as a freelance artist. In 1981, he won the first prize in the competition organized by the Senate of the Republic within the framework of the events organized for the 100th anniversary of Atatürk's birth with the title "I went to Samsun on the 19th day of May in 1919. The situation and the general view He shared his work titled " with Aydın Ayan. In the same year, in the competition organized by the Ministry of Culture, he was deemed worthy of the "War of Independence and Atatürk Revolutions Award" with his painting depicting the portrait of Gazi Mustafa Kemal and the view of the army he commanded in Kocatepe.
The artist participated in the Alexandria Biennial in 1982. With the invitation of the Yugoslav government, he joined the Potiçelli City Artists Colony and prepared a painting for the colony museum. He directed the workshop bearing his name at Galeri Sanatyapım in Ankara between 1982 and 2012. Between 1983 and 1989, he made paintings dealing with magic and abduction. In 1986, he prepared an exhibition that included only his horse-themed works.
Between 2000 and 2010, he made many paintings about the Kuvayı Milliye Epic and the Köroğlu Epic.[8] He exhibited his paintings based on Nazım Hikmet's poems in the exhibition titled "RANdevu with Nazım Hikmet" in 2003, within the scope of the poet's 100th birthday events. In the following years, he opened exhibitions called "Kuvayi Milliye Epic I" (2004) and "Kuvayi Milliye Epic II" (2009), which were based on Nazım's Kuvayi Milliye Epic. His last exhibition, titled Resurrection, was opened in Ankara on January 26, 2015, his 92nd birthday. In this exhibition, he combined Nazım Hikmet's paintings inspired by the Kuvayı Milliye Epic with the Gezi Resistance paintings. He told the stories of his paintings in his book Reaching the Poetry of Black and White Understanding (2015).[
Keskinok died of heart failure on April 18, 2015, at the age of 92, in the hospital where he was treated in Ankara. His body was buried in Gölbaşı Cemetery.

Two months after his death, an exhibition called "My Truths" was held in his memory in Istanbul. The opening of the foundation called Kayıhan Keskinok Foundation, which he planned in his last years, took place on December 30, 2015.

1968- Istanbul Opera House Art Competition Painting Honorable Mention.
1973 - 34th State Exhibition Award, with his painting "Festival".
1973- Ministry of Culture 50th Anniversary Painting and Sculpture Competition "Atatürk and the Republic" Award, with the painting titled "Production Kıvancı".
1973- 7th DYO Painting Exhibition Special Jury Prize, with his painting "Kayı Circus".
1978- 39th State Exhibition Award, with his painting "Amusement Park".
1981- Republic Senate Atatürk Painting Competition First Prize, with his painting titled "I went to Samsun on the 19th day of May 1919. Situation and public view".
1981- Ministry of Culture Atatürk and His Revolutions Painting Competition Award.
1994- International Plastic Arts Association Honor Award.
1999- Turkish Fine Art Work Owners Association (GESAM) "Those Who Came with the Republic" Service Award
2006- Ankara International Film Festival Art Plane Prize.
2008- Ministry of Culture "Culture and Arts Service Award".
2013- Trabzon Research Center Foundation (TAMEV) "Teacher of Teachers Award"

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