“The faces that influenced the people who laid the foundations of Western art history and established the conventions of aesthetics and beauty were inspired by these very same female faces who lived in this geography”
Ida was shot in Canakkale, Turkey. For this project I shot 25 women and selected 8 of them to be considered in the show for Lille3000 ( finally 6 will be picked for the exhibition)
I cast 113 women from 12 villages around Canakkale (also known as Dardanelles, north west of Turkey on the Aegean coast, opposite The Bosphorus). These villages are within the borders of the ancient city of Troy (today Bayramic) and many villagers in fact live with the ruins.
(These villages are: Yukarikoy,Elmacik,Denizgorundu, Akpinar, Caldag, Kursunlu, Mollasanlar, Teyfikiye, Yapildak, Cetmi, Akkoy, Kosuburnu)
I also went to villages near the Mount Ida, also within the Troyan borders, where the first beauty contest took place in mythology. The project takes its name from this mountain, which also means Mother Goddess.
As well as going to these villages for castings, my initial research included visiting:
The Archeology Museum in Istanbul.
Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, Ankara.
The Archeology Museum in Canakkale.
Most importantly, I had permission to stay at the excavation site of the ancient city of Aphrodisias located in the south of the Aegean, which was the Roman sculpture school of the Roman empire and has many great examples of Roman portrait tradition. The city takes its name from Aphrodite, goddess of love.
The series is influenced by the marble Frieze’s i saw at Aphrodisias, depicting women’s faces adorned with garlands of fruits and leaves.
In the series Ida, i tried to recreate these Frieze’s by using women who currently live in the Dardanelles where most Roman ruins are found. I adorned them with garlands and headpieces made out of real grapes.
I used a type of marble called Marmara, which takes its name from the nearby Marmara Sea, for the backgrounds of the photos, which is the type of Turkish marble most commonly used for these Roman sculptures as well. I also looked into other types of marbles and was able to learn about them through a local Marble dealer.
After identifying the villages, i got in touch with the “muhtar” of the village. Muhtar is the person who represents the village in the government and they are elected by the people who live in the village. The muhtar/s then introduced me to women who live there who might be interested to be in the project and i took their information and their digital photos in the village. After visiting villages, i made selections based on who i felt i could work with and who looked closer to the faces i saw in the Frieze’s in Aphrodisias. I explained the women the purpose of the Lille3000 project, showed them my research and explained my project. Then upon agreeing on a time and date, i had the women picked up from their villages by a local car service in groups of 3-4. The images were shot in an apartment in the center of Canakkale.
I have also done research in the local fruit and vegetable markets in Canakkale. The entire region is also very well know for its vineyards and different types of grapes that are produced there for Turkish wines. I experimented making the garlands with more than 7 different kinds of grapes i found in these markets, and i tried to accentuate women’s eye color with the different shades of green and black.
The garments i used in the photos are also bought in the local markets in Canakkale. Most women wear these buttoned down cotton shirts while they are working in the fields. (while picking fruits etc) It is like a uniform to them and they always choose earthy, pastel colors and patterns that match their headscarfs (non-religious)
Agriculture is a very important source of income for the people who currently live in the surrounding villages in Canakkale and most women i used in my project are farmers who are also vendors of their own produce, in these markets.
The Roman sculpture tradition, and the works of art that were produced there which were sent everywhere in the Roman empire, were in fact made in this geography. The faces that influenced the people who laid the foundations of Western art history and established the conventions of aesthetics and beauty were inspired by these very same female faces who lived in this geography. That’s why i was interested to photograph them.
Ida, Artist statement by Pinar Yolacan
Image courtesy of Pinar Yolacan
Pinar’s work was kindly suggested by guest curator, editor and author of “Girl on Girl” Charlotte Jansen @omfgnoway
To learn more about Pinar’s work please visit: