Mehmet Ali Laga

Who is Mehmet Ali Laga?

He completed his primary, secondary and high school education at Kuleli Military High School. At that time, there was no art lesson in the school’s curriculum. His motivation increased when Hasan Rıza Bey, the brother of his teacher, the painter Hüseyin Zekai Pasha, saw his interest in painting and took a close interest in him.

After graduating from Kuleli Military High School, he entered the Military Academy. Art lessons were also included in the curriculum of the military academy. Here he became a student of Hodja Ali Rıza. He received the close attention of Hodja Ali Rıza. He met the painter Sami Yetik, with whom they would continue to be together in the following years and take part in the same generation and societies.
After graduating from the Military Academy with the rank of lieutenant in 1898, he was appointed to his birthplace, Tripoli. He stayed here until he received the rank of Kolağası (captain). Laga, who came to Istanbul in 1907, started working at the Hassa General Staff. When the Constitutional Monarchy was declared in 1908, he was appointed as an art teacher at Kuleli Military High School, from which he graduated.

Young artists, who felt themselves in a freer environment with the declaration of the Constitutional Monarchy, were among the founders of the Ottoman Painters Society, which they founded in 1908 with the aim of creating a new art environment and introducing art and artists to the society, and chaired by their friend from military service, Sami Yetik.
Although his friends, including Sami Yetik, Nazmi Ziya Güran, Namık İsmail, İbrahim Çallı, Hikmet Onat and Mehmet Ruhi Arel, who were among the members of the society, went abroad, some with a state scholarship and some with their own means, he could not go.
Mehmet Ali Laga and his friend Sami Yetik about their duties in Edirne due to the start of the Balkan Wars: “Sami was assigned to the company, and I was assigned to the Martial Court. Since I was in the city, he worked in Edirne from morning to evening every day, and since Sami was also in the company, if he had free time, he would spend time drawing sketches of the soldiers of the company.” remembers in the form

Hasan Rıza, who was his teacher at Kuleli Military High School at the time, was also in Edirne and opened his workshop to them, until Edirne was occupied by the enemy, Hasan Rıza was killed and they were captured by the Bulgarians. Although there is no information about when their captivity ended and when they returned home; Nearly a hundred views of Çanakkale in the Dardanelles Command Naval Museum are evidence that the artist was in Çanakkale during World War I.
The artist, who participated in the Şişli Workshop exhibition with nine watercolor and charcoal works he painted in Çanakkale, worked as an art teacher at Bursa Military High School for a while.

Laga, who also served as the administrative director of Sanayi-i Nefise Mektebi, retired in 1924.

The artist, who retired to the Zafir mansion in Beşiktaş after his retirement and produced many works, died in Istanbul in 1947.

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