Ali Ulvi Mihoglu is an art director and project consultant who has given his heart to the promotion and development of Turkish-Islamic arts. He carries out studies in the vast field of traditional Turkish-Islamic arts, ranging from music to plastic arts and stage shows. He is the director of the company Muhur Sanat Kultur Organization production; which produces souvenirs of Turkish-Islamic arts at Mustafa Cemil Efe Arts Center and Pur Art Workshop, also carrying out works to promote the purchasing of prestigious artworks by corporations as gifts. We interviewed Mihoglu on the activities of the art center at which he has assumed the role of director.
What are the features of Turkish-Islamic Art? Which arts are encompassed by this field?
A list of Turkish-Islamic arts of any kind would necessarily be missing something; however, what can be regarded as art from an institutionalized perspective, or in other words, through the eyes of the modern world are calligraphy, ornamentation, paper marbling, miniatures, quilling and bibliopegy. We can also add “naht” or wood engraving art and also wood-nacre inlaying art, which are two different branches of ornamentation arts, to this list. Obviously, we must not forget architecture, literature, and music. The most important characteristic that we can observe in all Turkish-Islamic artworks is that the elements are highly stylized. In the tradition of none of these arts is there any direct reproduction of nature from an entirely naturalistic perspective. This is due to the sensitivity of a religious society to the creator.
In which of these arts do you work?
I collect classic and contemporary works of the calligraphers of our time for my own collection. I also collect paper marbling works by contemporary artists. I also have a collection of prayer beads that would be the envy of even the most prolific collectors. On the other hand,
in my professional life, I am dealing with calligraphy, ornamentation, paper marbling, miniatures, bibliopegy and wood and nacre inlaying for what we can call book arts, classical Turkish music for the stage show organizations that we have undertaken, and literature for the TV shows in which we take part as producers.
What should be done to promote Turkish-Islamic art to the world more effectively?
As is the case all over the world, art is in need of support. Our expectation both from the state institutions and private corporations is to promote our artworks to their international counterparts. I think that a very simple way of doing this is to select gifts from the artworks of our own culture.
Please tell us about the areas of activities of Mustafa Cemil Efe Sanat Merkezi and Pur Sanat Atolyesi ... What kind of works do you carry out there? Are there any existing or soon-to-beopened exhibitions?
We are mostly focused on the production of artworks and project planning; both “Pur Sanat Atolyesi” and Mustafa Cemil Efe Sanat Merkezi have been put together as workshops. Mustafa Cemil Efe Sanat Merkezi is a gallery where exhibitions are held continuously and there is a calligraphy workshop in it. It also hosts several cultural and artistic events. Pur Sanat Atblyesi is a collective arts center which hosts the most prominent artists of Turkey and where bibliopegy, ornamentation, miniature, wood and nacre inlaying arts are performed. Pur Sanat Atblyesi also carries out hand–made fountain pen production under its Kilk brand; it is the first workshop in the region in this field. Most of the group exhibitions showcased in Istanbul consist of our artworks. I suppose we will be able to open an exhibition composed entirely of our own artworks next spring.