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Painter for adults and children, Can Goknil has been working there for decades

By on May 17, 2022 0

Can Goknil, a prolific Turkish painter who lives and works in Istanbul, presents a new exhibition at the Bozlu Art Project in Sisli, Istanbul, until June 25, 2022.

In a short documentary about his latest exhibition, ‘Maybe then, maybe not’, Can Goknil says this one is special – because ‘we were stuck in our homes, couldn’t see anyone, couldn’t even we wanted it. Because of the virus, because of the fear of the virus, because of the lockdowns.”

At first she says World TRT, she loved being locked up at home with herself and her husband. She was working on two books. “One month, two months, then I’m done with the books – now what next?”

Can Goknil in front of one of his favorite paintings in the “Maybe So, Maybe No” exhibition. (Melis Alemdar / TRTWorld)

So Goknil asked his helper to bring him materials from his studio to his home: “my paints, my brushes, my rollers, my palettes, whatever there is.” Being stuck at home sparked a creative period in Goknil’s life, “running after my dreams all day, painting all the things I missed; like the sea, nature, animals, mothers and children.

In the two years at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, when she couldn’t get to her studio, Goknil created over 30 paintings at home and thought it would be nice to get them. exhibit at Bozlu Art. She also created a book, a codex with several paintings inside, painted on wood and enclosed in a beautiful wooden container built by her husband, Recep Goknil.

The Can Goknil codex contains six acrylic painted wooden panels.

The Can Goknil codex contains six acrylic painted wooden panels. (Melis Alemdar / TRTWorld)

Goknil worked on six planets for the codex: “I’ve always had a connection with mythology, I’ve done years of research on it. I went back to the time when the earth was dreaming, when people tried to explain natural events with stories. I had worked on celestial events – in the past I explored the star signs, then I explored the planets ruling the signs. They have Greek names, but they also have names in Eastern mythology.

Goknil has conducted extensive research on Turkish culture and origin myths, as well as creation myths and protection spells and early Turkish painters. She says that although she spent time abroad in the United States as a student, she was unfamiliar with her own culture at the time as an immigrant.

Can Goknil's work can be seen at the Bozlu Art Project in Sisli until June 25, 2022.

Can Goknil’s work can be seen at the Bozlu Art Project in Sisli until June 25, 2022. (Melis Alemdar/TRTWorld)

An editor she met at the time recommended that she explore her own culture, advice she took to heart. It wasn’t until she returned to Turkey and dug in that she felt better informed.

“Seeing the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in Ankara made me feel at home,” she says. “It’s all well and good to learn about Western cultures, but you shouldn’t miss out on your own cultures either. Much of the responsibility lies with families; or you can teach yourself when you’re older, if you want to catch up.

She marks the passage of time with her paintings to which pendulums are attached: “They represent the ticking of time, the passage of time”, she says. Goknil has been painting for over 50 years: “In 2018 there was a retrospective exhibition here [at Bozlu Art Project] marking my fiftieth anniversary in art,” she smiles. “Add another four years, and I’ve been there 54 years.”

Terra Axis by Can Goknil.  Acrylic wood panel with pendulum.

Terra Axis by Can Goknil. Acrylic wood panel with pendulum. (Melis Alemdar / TRTWorld)

Goknil, a prolific painter, is also the author of more than 60 children’s books. “You have to make them humorous and curious,” she says, “otherwise the kids won’t be interested.”

“Ms. Goknil, as you know, is a multi-talented person with her paintings and the books she has written and illustrated,” said Ozlem Inay Erten, director of Bozlu Art Project. World TRT. “And even though she says her paintings in this exhibition are about her dreams and desires, they are not that far removed from her previous paintings. They are joyful, full of hope.

“Goknil has been creating thematic exhibitions since the 1970s, and this one is no different,” observes Inay Erten. “It’s about time and mythology intertwined.”

“In my opinion”, says Inay Erten, “Goknil is an artist who cannot be categorized simply – she is an original, an innovator and an important artist because of that.”

It's A She by Can Goknil.  Acrylic painting on canvas.

It’s A She by Can Goknil. Acrylic painting on canvas. (Courtesy of Bozlu Art Project)

Goknil says “Maybe, then maybe not” turned out to be a happy exhibit: “People always tell me that they end up feeling refreshed and at peace with the world after visiting one of my exhibitions”, she says modestly.

Indeed, his naive figures and pastel colors attract the viewer. There is no bloodshed or violence here.

“I am a person at peace with the world. The world has been kind to me,” Goknil says. “I’ve been lucky with my marriage, with our son, with our pets, with everything. It’s reflected in my paintings.

Can Goknil, Concerto.  Acrylic painting on canvas.

Can Goknil, Concerto. Acrylic painting on canvas. (Courtesy of Bozlu Art Project)

Source: World TRT

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