Sabancı University Sakıp Sabancı Museum's monographic exhibitions offer an in-depth perspective on the artists and their works that have an important place in Turkish painting; It continues by focusing on Melek Celâl, one of the pioneering female artists of the late Ottoman Empire and the early Republic period. Organized under the main sponsorship of Sabancı Holding and with the contributions of Gilan, A Forgotten Republican Woman: Melek Celâl in All Its Aspects can be visited at SSM between 26 December 2023 and 28 April 2024.

The exhibition focuses on the life and art of Melek Celâl, a female artist who showed the first nude works at the Galatasaray Exhibitions in 1924 and opened her first personal exhibition in 1935. It consists of a rich archive of the versatile artist's paintings and sketches, patterns inspired by Anatolian motifs, articles, criticisms and books he wrote about city planning, calligraphy and Turkish embroidery, as well as photographs, postcards, souvenirs and letters that shed light on his life.

The exhibition, which offers a comprehensive look at the life and works of Melek, one of the leading female representatives of the first generation of modern artists who was born in the Ottoman Empire at the end of the 19th century and continued their lives in the Republic of Turkey, includes clues about how the modernization process was experienced in a country that was going through radical changes in every sense. . The life of Melek Celâl, who, like many artists of the early Republican period, grew up in Istanbul with the cultural background of a wealthy Ottoman family, reveals not only the story of a forgotten painter of a period, but also the cultural panorama of the late Ottoman and early Republican periods. The exhibition also includes Melek Celâl's scientific analysis work Beyond the Visible, which sheds light on Melek Celâl's technique, the restoration work her works underwent, and the structure and texture of the materials she used.

Sabancı Holding CEO Cenk Alper said, “We believe that the exhibitions of Feyhaman Duran, Selim Turan, Avni Lifij and Abdülmecid Efendi, which we previously held together with Sakıp Sabancı Museum, are important resources not only for art lovers but also for the history of art. We are very happy to organize the exhibition on the life and art of Melek Celâl, a versatile female artist who embodies all the values of the Republic, on the 100th anniversary of our Republic. We would like to thank dear Nazan Ölçer and the SSM team for presenting such a strong female artist to the society with intense research and work.” she said.

Sakıp Sabancı Museum Director Dr. Nazan Meter; “Our exhibitions, which focus on an artist's work and comprehensively cover the artist's style and contributions to the culture and art environment, always require intense preliminary research. We wanted to dedicate our series of monographic exhibitions, sponsored by Sabancı Holding, to a valuable female artist this year. Although Melek Celâl was a versatile figure coming from a well-established family during the transition from the Ottoman Empire to the Republic of Turkey, she is unfortunately a Republican woman we have forgotten today. By remembering Melek Celâl, who reflected the ideals of the Republic, on the 100th anniversary of the Republic, we considered it our duty to remember this period of Turkey and the dreams of that period.

Melek receives a good education at home because she has an educated and wealthy family. Although his name is not found in the official records of İnâs Sanâyî-i Nefîse Mektebi and Académie Julian, it is possible that he was a guest student in these schools and attended the workshops of important artists of the period in Paris, where he traveled frequently. He hosted many artists and intellectuals of the period in Villa Wohl, where he lived in Moda and had his own workshop, and played an active role in the culture and art environment in Istanbul.

Melek Celâl Sofu is not only a painter and sculptor, but also a writer and critic. The articles and books he wrote about traditional Turkish handicrafts and calligraphy, and the conferences he gave, almost rival his identity as an artist. Melek is a Republican woman who, on the one hand, looks to the West and on the other hand, turns to Anatolia. We invite all art lovers to discover the life and art of Melek, who is educated, open to the world, passionately devoted to traditional Turkish arts and architecture, and whom we can regard as an example for the generation that the Republic wants to raise.” she said.

In the catalog prepared within the scope of the exhibition A Forgotten Republican Woman: Melek Celâl in All Its Aspects, which is an academic resource, Namık Sinan Turan, Gizem Tongo, Ahu Antmen, Nazan Bekiroğlu, Mehmet Samsakçı and Ömer Faruk Şerifoğlu evaluated Melek Celâl's life and art from many different perspectives. .