In late October 2021 Turkish Art Week’s inaugural exhibition was held over a period of five days at the Saatchi Gallery in London’s fancy Chelsea. The show was organized by online art gallery and arts consultancy Renko London, which was founded by the (rather glamorous) London-based Turkish artist Renk Erbil: “now it’s Turkish art’s time to become the next global buzz”. The timing seemed aImost spooky, since I was planning my own little Turkey month, so I went to check it out.

I can’t cover all the artists whose work was on display at the Saatchi show, but work I particularly loved included these two pictures of Istanbul (giclée metal prints) by Devrim Erbil, Turkey’s principal contemporary artist, who has been dubbed the “Poet of Art” for his vibrant representations of Turkish culture. Erbil is also interested in the interplay between human activity and the natural world. He is well known for the “birds’ eye views” of his cityscapes, looking over the city from above and including flocks of birds, the undulating density of which reflects the rhythm of movement of both people and waterways, whether that is the Bosphorus or the Thames.

The work “London Like a Dream” (2021) was painted to commemorate the London exhibition:

Other work I loved included portraits by Bahri Genc, who is among Turkey’s principal portraitists, and whose expressive work uses bold brush strokes and a fresh use of colour to create a distinctly modern, semi-abstract feel:

I was totally captivated by these bright and beautiful hot air balloon pictures by Barış Sarıbaş – my photo really doesn’t do them justice:

Cengiz Yatağan showed abstract work using epoxy resin and canvas – this is Untitled (2019), a large work (200 x 140 cm):

I also really liked slightly surreal, abstract paintings by Çiğdem Erbil:

Close up I found the use of paint just incredible:

Finally, I also loved bright, expressive work by Sina Mirel:

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