“Art in Turkish Sweetgum Forests” is a collection produced by collaboration of senior British wildlife artists and young Turkish artists during the Doğa için Sanat (Art for Nature)” project.
“Doğa için Sanat” is a project coordinated by DKM (Nature Conservation Centre, TR) and SWLA (Society of Wildlife Artists, UK) partnership and financially supported by European Union and Turkish Government under the Civil Society Dialogue Programme.
The project aims to introduce “wildlife art concept” in Turkey with help of professional British artists, while raising awareness on endemic “Sweetgum Forests”.
Oriental Sweetgum (Liquidamber orientalis) is an endemic tree species that forms forest ecosystems only in south-western coasts of Anatolia, which are threatened by human-induced fragmentation. Due to conservation studies previously conducted by DKM, “building corridors between forest patches” is revealed as the most effective conservation action, which needs massive public dedication and investment. To ensure this, several public engagement activities (informative publications, plantation festivals etc.) have been organised since 2011 mostly in local level.
On the other hand, with this project inspired by the Artists for Nature Foundation’s (ANF*) “The Great Fen” Project in UK (2004-2005), it is aimed to reach the general public with help of visual arts.
In this context, an art week was organised in June 2016, that meets 25 young Turkish artists with SWLA tutor artists in Sweetgum Forests of Köyceğiz. Young artists, most of which steps out of their studios for the first time, had the chance to observe nature with guidance of their British colleagues and discuss on techniques.
Resulting artwork turned out to be a documentation of young artists’ learning process as well as the sweetgum ecosystems and has been exhibited in several locations in Turkey until September 2016. The collection will continue its expedition in capitals of both UK & Turkey, and the whole experience will be published as a book after all.
* The ANF is a global foundation established in 1990 and has several shared members with the SWLA.