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Art initiatives and Alternative Projects



 5533 opened in February 2008, with its storefront window gallery, library, artist/curator/art initiative/new media/sound art, and portfolio archives, as an independent space for research, discussion and exhibition of contemporary art. Talks, workshops, public roundtable discussions, and readings taking place in this former shop located in the Istanbul Textile Traders’ Market (IMC) Block No. 5 creates a forum for an interactive review of artistic concepts and practices. In addition to analyzing art’s theoretical context, at 5533, video screenings, performances and exhibitions turn a former business environment into a ‘contact zone’ where visitors from different backgrounds, professions and communities interact with IMC inhabitants to experience various artistic forms in a non-exclusive and non-elitist atmosphere. 5533 is founded by Nancy Atakan, Volkan Aslan and Marcus Graf. As from 2011 Nazlı Gürlek is the new curator/director of 5533. 


Apartment Project

The space was initiated by artist Selda Asal with the aim of providing artists with an opportunity for interdisciplinary collaboration, and for hosting their own exhibitions. Since its opening in 1999, various performances, installations, exhibitions, and events have taken place at this location. Some of these projects have travelled to other locations, and projects travelled to exhibit at the Apartment Workshops. Artist weeks have been organized, incorporating the project space's studio and other locations. The space has a 24 square meter, ground level exhibition space located in Tunel. The priority in their exhibitions and events are on establishing interaction with the daily life on the streets. 



Outlet is an attempt to bring art, regarded as a luxury commodity, to the masses in a time and space where social and cultural inequity is deeply entrenched. Outlet aims to create a recreation area or a breathing place away from museums, institutions, bank galleries and intends to initiate innovative and risk-taking projects. Outlet’s concern is to share the works of artists from different countries and generations, produced with different art techniques, styles and forms of expression. The project will function both as a gallery and a non-profit organization and has many connections that can help it with means for publication and education. It also works on artists’ archives and consultancy for art collections. Outlet supports prolific artists who rarely had the chance to show their works. Outlet is flexible and fosters an atmosphere in which the artist can feel at ease.


Gallery NON

Galeri Non is one of the clusters of young, independent contemporary art galleries in Istanbul’s Tophane district. NON was founded by Derya Demir and is devoted to artists who embrace non-disciplinary art practices – resulting in new languages and artistic experiences.  


Milk Gallery

Milk Gallery exhibits a genre of work influenced by graffiti, street art, illustrations and comics. Every month, Milk Gallery presents an exhibition.  



URA is a gallery and project space founded by artist Mihda Koray, a native of Istanbul who studied at The Slade School of Fine Art in London. URA opened in April 2007 with the intention of merging music, club culture and contemporary art within the same space, something that was new in the Istanbul art scene of the time. URA distinguishes itself as a gallery by drawing no distinction between visual artists, musicians, and writers.


Videoist (Istanbul based Mobile Video Event)

Videoist was founded in 2003 by Hülya Özdemir and Ferhat Satıcı. This independent initiative works with video art. The “Videoist” word is a combination of the words “video” (the origin of this word is “videre” in Latin language which means I see) and the word “ist”, which is the abbreviation of Istanbul. In this sense, it aims to be a platform for different art activities as well as video projects.



Recollective is a collective of artists who work in the area of photography and film. The collective came together out of the need for a platform for creating, discussing and sharing work. While each photographer has their own unique expression, the understanding and the questions that gear contemporary photography brings them together, and creates a synergy that questions and deepens their practice.



Daralan is an independent project that allows and welcomes the exhibition and sharing of art works from all disciplines and cross-disciplinary practices. The project started its program with the exhibition “Widening Narrow Space” on December 14th 2007. Daralan was founded by Dilan Gümüş, Erdinç Gümüş and Sesil Beatris Kalaycıyan.


Sanatorium Civil Art Initiative 

Sanatorium was founded in 2009 by eight artists from different disciplines; Alp Alanbay, Barış İlkhan, Buğra Kulbak, Guido Casaretto, Mehmet Turgut, Osman İlder Yalın, Tunç Dindaş and Tunca Subaşı.



CUMA (Contemporary Utopia Management)

CUMA is a non-profit contemporary art organization based in Istanbul, aiming to activate urban and rural communities by creating contemporary art projects and acting as a mentor for art organizations and initiatives. CUMA's ways of activation: - initiating interdisciplinary cultural activities in urban and rural areas in Turkey, that play a key role in the process of democratic transition of contemporary arts in society. - introducing its collaborators to networks, supporting and sharing their artistic production processes. - acting as a contact point for the contemporary multi-disciplinary artists as well as cultural organizations from the South East Europe and the Balkans. - developing trainings, workshops, and seminars about the cultural sector focusing on contemporary art. - mentoring local cultural institutions and helping them with self-evaluation, as well as assisting local and international funding bodies with its assessment, evaluation and audit expertise.



Yama is a new public art space hosted by a 6m x 9m lumacom screen that sits atop the Marmara Pera Hotel in Istanbul. The importance of this space is its ability to have an immediate effect on the public and to host the possibility for interactivity and communication. Yama aims to be such a shared experience that acts as a "patch" in the setting of the city to attract the gaze of the passer by, the public and the tourist. Every year one person or a team will be responsible for curating yama, and it will always be the curator who selects the next one. The screen's goal is to create a network of people and projects that can in time penetrate and share its achievements with similar screens throughout the world in order to create and sustain an international dialogue.




Pist is a non-profit, independent, artist-run space in Istanbul. Co-directed by Didem Özbek and Osman Bozkurt, it aims to be an open, diverse, alternative art space. The main focus of Pist is to support the local contemporary art scene while sustaining its continuing growth. Since May 2006 Pist has hosted various exhibitions, discussions, and projects as well as produced its own publications.



Caravansarai is an independent art production space and meeting point for creators in Istanbul. Just as the historical caravansarais hosted camel caravans along the Silk Road, they invite creative people from around the globe for collaboration, experimentation, research and exchange. In Istanbul, their production, presentation, library, meeting and living spaces are home to workshops, investigation, public and private events, collaborations and three artist-in-residence programs. Beyond Istanbul, inspired thinkers from everywhere participate virtually and physically in the projects incited. Their interests lie primarily in Turkey's region: the Balkans, Caucasus, Middle East and Eastern Europe. They welcome visual artists, filmmakers, musicians, scientists, circus performers, architects, choreographers, curators, writers, artisans, urban theorists and all manner of creative people. Caravansarai is an artist-run business adventure, exploring the integration of art and culture into the flow of every-day life.



Kop-Art is art in movement in its broadest sense. The range goes from designing a piece of clothing to graphics/video-art visuals, from conceptual installations to p(art)y performances. Kop-Art was born as a comic strip idea in 2000 by Gamze Fidan and Cansu Aybar, inspired by a fight at a TV show between a famous pop-icon and a well-known artist. In the following 6 years, it has traveled back and forth between New York and Istanbul. Kop-Art believes in interaction in the artistic sense. In creation, it’s pretty trashy and holistic, recognizing no obstacles between art and life. Kop-Art’s anarchistic attitude against ordinary “good taste” is present in every item created (clothing, visuals etc.).



Istanbul 2010 Art Production Center – Kadırga

Art Production Center-Kadırga served as a venue for Istanbul 2010 projects of different disciplines. The Municipality of Fatih allocated the Culture Center in Kadırga for this project. The center was transformed into the Art Production Center. In the center, where international artists will organize workshops and produce artworks for 3 years, the artists have common studios (photography, video, multi-media equipment and technicians) at their disposal. In addition there are various rooms (with approx. capacity for 300 seats) to hold conferences, panels and workshops. There is also an archive room and a library. The center is designated to generate synergy, created by the collaboration of participating artists. Art Production Center Kadırga serves as the site for producing, improving, introducing and promoting the main and applicant projects for Istanbul 2010 European Capital of Culture Agency.


Diyarbakır Art Center (DSM)

The Diyarbakır Art Center is supported by Anadolu Kultur and the Center started out with visiting exhibits, lecture series, film screenings and theater productions which brought cultural productions of the western parts of Turkey with Diyarbakir. The workshops brought creative energy from the West and the East together to create, and DSM quickly evolved into a stage where artists from all around the globe worked together in multicultural and multidisciplinary projects which transcend geographic, linguistic and political divides. DSM has proven an inspiring case for grassroots cooperation and engagement with local actors, including Dicle University, the greater and local municipal governments, the bar association, the chamber of industry and commerce, women`s groups, physicians` associations, and the state theater organization