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Celebration of spring with celebs…

16 Nisan 2012 , Pazartesi 09:28
Celebration of spring with celebs…

Last month, being invited to a spring fest also known as Nevruz in Istanbul, was one of the most exciting events I experienced; -Such spring festivities are observed by various minorities throughout the country.  Of course, having been invited there by Muazzez Ilmiye Cig, a well-known Sumerologist and a prominent advocate of secularism in Turkey, at the workshop-residences of Mehmet Aksoy, a renowned Turkish sculptor who’s been in the news recently due to the controversy his giant 35 meter/ 100 foot tall stone “Statue of Humanity” on the eastern city hills of Kars overlooking Armenia and Azerbaijan has caused, was the “extra kindling on the bonfire” I wasn’t expecting.

The evening picked up with a slide show display of our host Aksoy’s works, as we pondered, spellbound among his various other masterpieces in the backyard, enjoying the delicacies from his hometown of Antakya’s kitchens, overflowing.  Introducing Cig as the queen of the ‘evening ball’, Aksoy strolled through the evening by explaining the significance of Nevruz – and how it represented springtime and new beginnings. He added that Nevruz bonfires symbolize the sun and the spring and fall equinox, - and that it is, and has been, an important tradition to jump over the fire, indicating a desire to leave the past behind in order to reach out to new beginnings.

Many guests did jump over the fire along with this insightful host, the individual who was at one time commissioned to build the “Statue of Humanity” …the unfinished statue which has caused quite a bit of controversy in this multi-ethnic nation. 

The sculptor has stated that his aim was to promote peace and brotherhood with this statue of two figures, standing face-to-face, with an outreaching 10-foot-tall-never mounted hand, meant to join the two figures to form a bridge.  For now however, the fact that this work remains unfinished at its current location is judged by some to be an eyesore.  It is nevertheless claimed that its value rests in its symbolism rather than its silhouette.

And its symbolism thus far has two other city districts in the country captivated, as they have requested to have this statue transferred to their region - wishing to play host to this monument; one in Central Anatolia’s Nevsehir, and the other in the Aegean city of Izmir.  So it seems that the hand is reaching out to a new beginning.

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