Exploring earth's breath through Pervin Ozdemir's ceramics

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Editor : Selin Hayat Hacialioglu
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Reflecting on her journey and achievements, Pervin Ozdemir presents her vision of ceramics as a medium that transcends art, embodying Türkiye's rich cultural heritage

Exploring earth's breath through Pervin Ozdemir's ceramics

EXCLUSIVE BY SELIN HAYAT HACIALIOGLU — This year, the Ahmed Adnan Saygun Art Center in Izmir hosted the third clay workshop, led by international ceramic artist Pervin Ozdemir.

"Breath of the Earth," featuring the artworks of 25 workshop members, ran from Feb. 26 to March 26, 2024, captivating art enthusiasts.

The exhibition showcased an array of works that delved into the mysteries of nature and the universe, depicted through mythological figures.

Notably, a significant highlight was a clay sculpture crafted by Pervin Ozdemir, inspired by the statue of Homer found in the Menderes district of Izmir. This particular piece became another example of Ozdemir drawing inspiration from ancient history and melding it with her unique artistic vision, bringing a distinctive and refreshing perspective.

"Amazon on duty" by Pervin Ozdemir, March 26, 2024. (Photo by Selin Hayat Hacialioglu) 

Pervin Ozdemir believes that ceramic art is more than just an aesthetic expression; it bridges the past and the future. Each piece in the exhibition revived mythological stories, representing ceramics' profound roots. Ozdemir highlighted her philosophy of art, stating, "Shaping clay is like opening the door to immortality."

Born and raised in Izmir, Ozdemir, who has represented Türkiye internationally, shapes her art with the transformative power of earth and fire. Her journey transcends mere artistic endeavor, symbolizing cultural heritage and creative expression through her works.

Pervin Ozdemir, 2024. (Photo provided by Pervin Ozdemir) 

Ozdemir's story began in the vibrant city of Izmir, where her early interactions with art and creativity laid the foundation for her future career. "I was born in Izmir in 1951. Today, I prepare my works in my studio and partake in exhibitions," Ozdemir said.

Her deep dive into ceramic art started in the 1980s at the Izmir State Painting and Sculpture Museum. She actively participated in the Painting and Sculpture Museum Conservation Association and the Turgut Pura Foundation during the same period.

"Trojan Horses" by Pervin Ozdemir, March 26, 2024. (Photo by Selin Hayat Hacialioglu) 

Sharing her thoughts on what sparked her interest in ceramics, Ozdemir said, "I attended my first art meetings during my high school years. Growing up immersed in art within my family, my time spent in my father's foundry workshop and the curiosity it sparked in me directed me towards working with earth and fire."

In her works, she reflects on the themes of mythology, women, and natural life, exploring women's issues and social problems with a modern perspective.

"Battle of the Amazons" by Pervin Ozdemir, March 26, 2024. (Photo by Selin Hayat Hacialioglu) 

Discussing her achievements and awards throughout her artistic life, Ozdemir said, "I held my first personal exhibition with 120 works at the Ephesus Ancient City Written Documents Gallery. I won awards in the Golden Jug competitions in 1991 and 1994."

Additionally, she mentions receiving awards in the Turgut Pura Foundation competitions and inspiring the "Pervin Ozdemir Award."

Sharing her thoughts on the social and cultural impacts of her art, Ozdemir said: "I received the 'Ministry of Culture Service to Anatolian Civilizations Award' for my relief commemorates the well-known author, Fisherman of Halicarnassus, Cevat Sakir Kabaagacli. I work to advance our art in collaboration with other committed ceramic artists, fostering its acceptance in society."

The facade of the Merhaba Building, where the Fisherman of Halicarnassus lived in Izmir. (Photo provided by Pervin Ozdemir) 

Opening her 100th ceramic exhibition at the Konak Municipality Guzelyalı Nazim Hikmet Culture Center in 2010, Ozdemir shares her future plans and goals.

"I plan to continue addressing women's and social issues in my art, reaching a broader audience. I aim to extend the beauty and depth of ceramic art to a wider public," she says.

Ozdemir also gave ceramic lessons for 20 years at the Guzelyali Culture Center.

"I taught young artists that ceramics is not just an art form but a way of life. I encouraged them to see art as a part of their lives and to discover their own creativity," she explains.

"Jellyfish" by Pervin Ozdemir, March 26, 2024. (Photo by Selin Hayat Hacialioglu) 

Driven by a deep commitment to her culture and a desire to ensure its legacy for future generations, Ozdemir infuses her ceramic art with various aspects of Turkish heritage. Through her work, she acts as a custodian, preserving and sharing these traditions with the world.

For Ozdemir, ceramic art has a purpose beyond aesthetic expression – it's a means of keeping cultural values and stories alive and introducing them to the world. Each detail and motif in her works illuminate Türkiye's cultural richness and wisdom from the past.

Ozdemir's artistic journey shows that ceramic art in Türkiye and internationally is visually appealing and serves as a medium for cultural communication.

The artist passionately champions Türkiye's rich heritage of Turkish ceramic art on the international stage, thereby bringing these values to a broader audience.

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