The Culture and Arts Hub at Istanbul Airport

Airports once a place solely for waiting in lines and sitting in uncomfortable chairs before flights are being changed into festivals and installations of culture and art.

Turkeys Istanbul Airport in partnership with IGART is putting on a culture and arts event right in the middle of the airport. IGART describes Istanbul Airport as “one of the biggest meeting points in the world”, where “passengers from different cultures, beliefs and lives with a common goal of getting to somewhere meet unbeknownst to one another.”

IGART wishes for the Turkish airport to be more than a brief moment never to be thought of again,

“Sometimes due to the excitement of reaching the destination and other times due to the design of the terminals, which is quite isolated, the travel experience of passengers in these temporary spaces comes to an end before they know it.”

The music’s beat helps those long walks to each end of the airport, or if there is time, to have a dance in the middle of the airport while experiencing that ‘main character’ moment. The tweet by iGA Istanbul Airport below shows a video of a DJ in the airport, creating rhythm and beats for passengers, who seem to be enjoying this innovative and unusual entertainment in an airport.

There is a range of artists, art, crafts and workshops coming up in the next month. Various activities will be occurring in October 2022 with music performances to be expected every Friday and Saturday, and every Tuesday and Thursday there are handicrafts such as macrame and sculpting with various workshops happening each Wednesday. The full schedule can be seen below.

Istanbul Airport Culture and Arts Festival content of events for October 2022 © igairport 2019 /
Istanbul Airport Culture and Arts Festival content of events for October 2022 © igairport 2019 /

IGART Art Contest Wins 1 Million Turkish Lira

SAYA’s Voice is an installation created with symbols to reflect the spirit of the countryside. It will be placed on the lower ceiling surface of the viaduct at the metro exit at Istanbul Airport and can be expected to be seen at the end of the summer months.

This was the biggest art award that Turkey has ever seen, and was awarded to Fatma Betül Kotil with her work, “SAYA’s Voice”, winning a cash prize of 1 million Turkish Lira.

The art contest was established to support young artists to pave the way for more art to be created in the country and was presented in September at the iGA Istanbul Airport. The contest did not impose any thematic or stylistic limitations other than outlining and defining the venue, where the winning art piece would be installed.

“In our world, where almost everything seeks a solution with a certain systematic approach, we think that it is a modern responsibility to propose new solutions for the union of art and life, as they are often neglected areas. In this context, creating an aesthetic environment with the artist’s free suggestions without any restrictions other than the definition of space will make this meeting even more meaningful.” – IGART

The grand prize winner "SAYA's Voice" presented in Istanbul Airport © iGART /
The grand prize winner “SAYA’s Voice” presented in Istanbul Airport © iGART /

Art exhibition using waste from Istanbul Airport

An art show called ‘0’ Zero Point by the artist Deniz Sağdıç, was launched in January 2022 and features art using the waste created from the airport such as old uniforms, plastic, rubbish bags, cables and more identified by Istanbul Airport’s Waste Management Centre. The art installation is in the airport’s departure terminal in the Bosphorus area to raise visitors’ and passengers’ awareness of sustainability and recycling.

The environmental and sustainability project was carried out by IGART and practices using recycling and upcycling to increase awareness of waste reduction. With this project, the artist invites the audience to rethink the concept of “consumption”.

There were 20 artworks created over the 4-month-long artist process which consists of various portraits with characteristics of differing ethnicities and characteristics. Although this particular exhibition has stopped there are more in the making, to create more art shows in the Istanbul Airport

Pictures of the various creations can be seen below.

'0' Zero Point art exhibition at Istanbul Airport © IGART
‘0’ Zero Point art exhibition at Istanbul Airport © IGART
'0' Zero Point art exhibition at Istanbul Airport © IGART
‘0’ Zero Point art exhibition at Istanbul Airport © IGART
'0' Zero Point art exhibition at Istanbul Airport © IGART
‘0’ Zero Point art exhibition at Istanbul Airport © IGART

Airports are becoming more than just hop-on-hop-off stations that are gone in the blink of an eye. Istanbul Airport is creating a culture and arts hub that provokes passengers and visitors to stop and think about various in-depth concepts. Whether that be consumption, or new rhythm and beats there is a mix of culture and art in the airport that aims to represent the people that are walking through it.

Are airports a good location for art exhibitions? Share your valuable comments below.

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