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Cypriot and Turkish artists use glass to tell a story

Posted on 4 April 2011

Glass exhibition 'Transparency' in Istanbul

Renowned glass artists, Cypriot-born, Yorgos Papadopoulos, and Turkish native, Yasemin Aslan Bakiri use glass to tell a story of fraternity, protection and reconciliation in a joint exhibition taking place in Istanbul between May 12 to July 31.

Titled ‘Transparency’, the two artists will portray their similarities in habits, life experiences, philosophies, values and ideas through glass art. Using ‘protection’ as a common theme, and playing with the paradoxes of glass – fragility and strength, opacity and transparency – Papadopoulos’ exhibits will feature the eye-stone and the Virgin while Bakiri’s will feature shields.

‘Since my days as a student at the Royal College of Art in London, my work has concerned itself with breakage and mending, with putting back together things that have been broken and making them beautiful,’ says Papadopoulos. ‘This is not just to do with 1974 (landing of Turkish troops in the northern part of Cyprus, ed.) and its aftermath. The culture of my childhood contained all sorts of in-built contradictions, none of them more obvious than the one between the matopetra and Panayia.’

Both of these talismans were treated with equal reverence as protectors against evil, even though one was pagan and the other Christian.

‘As if the symbolism of that wasn’t potent enough, there was an added, if unspoken contradiction- the matopetra was also the Turkish nazar, as familiar to those who lived north of the Green line as it was to those who lived south of it,’ explains Papadopoulos.

The two artists’ work has a vital thing in common. Bakiri’s shields are not defensive but protective, playing with the same paradoxes of glass as Papadopoulos’.

‘When I encountered ‘Transparency’ project, I was thrilled for art would become a translator for all things that I wanted to say. All the possibilities of glass, would pour out of my hands, my knowledge and my experiences, becoming a language of colors that I can speak with. Glass, a strong fragility between counterparts and imbalances, would re-establish the balance,’ says Bakiri, concluding that through this means, ‘we would understand each other.’

What’s more, Transparency embodies a loud message of reconciliation.

The two artists invite people of both ‘worlds’ to share their experiences and, their story.

Venue address:


Mürsel Paşa Caddesi

Close to Bulgarian Church


To view samples of:

George Papadopoulos’ work, visit

Yasemin Aslan Bakiri’s work, visit

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