05 September 2016, Çanakkale
In recent years, our region has experienced an atmosphere of war and conflict, and the recent tragic events which the country has gone through has deeply upset us. Since January 2016, both the national and international press have been informed that the 5th Çanakkale Biennial, meant to take place between 24 September – 6 November, would focus on the issue of “migration”, one of the most urgent questions for our region and our city. The biennial did not seek to limit the issue to what is happening in the Middle East today, but to express the universal idea of being “torn apart” from one’s homeland through the delicate and empathetic works of 42 artists.
Organised by the civil initiative CABININ since 2008, the Çanakkale Biennial has always been unique in its active involvement with public, private and civil formations and in its dialogue with all segments of society. It has been an increasingly important responsibility to organise an internationally recognised event in Çanakkale through the universal language of art, and to make visible the social fabric of our city that has adopted a culture of peace and tolerance. With this responsibility in mind, we have continued our work with dedication, with the ongoing support of our partners and supporters.
At this point, with less than three weeks left to the opening of the Çanakkale Biennial, we are deeply saddened by the developments within a political agenda that does not place art as a primary point of concern. Beral Madra, the art director and the co-curator of the biennial since its third edition in 2012, has willingly left her position due to this agenda that is contradictory to the basis of our organization.
As the Çanakkale Biennial Initiative, we will continue to represent the values of the Biennial, built upon the hard work of hundreds, and of our city, through maintaining our practices in the artistic field. However, in these circumstances where art is eclipsed by the developments that exclude it, and also due to the sensitising atmosphere caused by the realities that surround us today, we have lost our ability and enthusiasm to carry out the biennale in line with our most vital values. For this reason, we would like to sadly announce that we have decided to cancel the 5th Çanakkale Biennial, which was planned to open on 24 September.
In addition to the Municipality of Çanakkale, the main sponsor of the biennial, communications were carried out with various national and international organisations to ensure participation and support for this year, as with the previous editions. We would like to thank our main sponsor, the Municipality of Çanakkale and also the Governorship of Çanakkale, for their venue support, and the Republic of Turkey Ministry of Culture and Tourism among other supporters, for their contributions.
We would like to express our deep gratitude and love for all artists, participants, supporters for the hard work and support they have given to the biennial to this day.
Exactly one year after Aylan Kurdi’s lifeless body was washed up on our shores, we would like to dedicate the unrealised 5th Çanakkale Biennial and the efforts of everyone involved to all the people who have been expelled from their homelands.
CABININ – Çanakkale Biennial Initiative