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Artistic cats on Istanbul streets

Posted on 1 October 2012

 Four-meter-tall cats are set to prowl the streets of Istanbul again as the enormously successful social creativity project iKEDi returns to the city once again after a two-year break.

As part of iKEDi, residents of Istanbul have been invited again to participate in large-scale puppetry workshops that will be held in public spaces throughout the city on weekends between Sept. 1 and Oct. 7. During the workshops, four-meter-long huge movable cats will be created that will then stroll around the streets of the city as part of an artistic call for people to respect the right of other creatures to live on the streets of the city.

Developed under the auspices of the iDans Contemporary Dance and Performance event, an Istanbul-based interdisciplinary art festival, iKEDi emphasizes cultures of co-existence, pluralism and diversity and particularly focuses on Istanbul’s animals.

As part of the project, residents will have an opportunity to create large- and small-scale puppets of Istanbul’s most famous animals under the direction of Roger Titley, a well-respected South African puppet creator.

The first iKEDi event was organized in Istanbul in 2010, attracting 20,000 people.

After the success of the first performance in 2010, iKEDi attracted interest from Spain and Finland last year, as well as different primary schools in Istanbul.

Touring 14 different neighborhoods of Istanbul in 2010, the mobile cat sculptures were invited to Spain and Finland after their visits to several local schools in spring 2011, participating in the “White Nights” parade in Burgos in May 2011 and the Helsinki Festival in August of the same year.

The success of the event in 2010 has convinced organizers to restage the event this year.

The iKEDi project, which is produced by the Bimeras Foundation with assistance from nongovernmental organizations, local authorities and educational institutions under the slogan “We are Istanbulites,” is a creation of Titley and Austrian theater director Airan Berg. Titley and Berg recently collaborated on other outdoor spectacles, including the 2009 Linz Cultural Capital celebration and major sporting events.

The workshops are free and open to people ages 10 and up.

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