By Lina Stefanou Portrait: Sebastião Palha
“Artmaking is a lifelong investment; a good education is essential. After education there should be time for reflection; time to find one’s goals and conceptual and aesthetic preferences. During this time the young artist can work in different disciplines of art making; internships, or working for a senior artist as assistant, are effective ways to find out what one wants! Most artists are obliged to do something else to make a living; this is sometimes distracting, and it takes a strong will to go on making art in-between. Artistic collectives and initiatives are useful for visibility and fund raising. The young artist has to act as an entrepreneur but should not lose his/her will to be dissident, independent and determined”.
In the 1980s in a country where feminism was an unknown word, some women emerged, fought, demanded and finally shaped the contemporary art market in Turkey. One of the pioneers in this drive was Beral Madra. Today Madra is a well-known art critic and curator. She directed the BM Gallery (1984-1990) and has been Director of BM Contemporary Art Centre since 1990. She coordinated the 1st and 2nd Istanbul Biennales. Since 1984 she has hosted more than 250 local and international artists in her art centre and in other official art spaces in Istanbul. She is an interesting woman with a sparkling gaze and a confident manner, who has learnt not only to assess situations but define them in her own way.