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HANDE SEVER's (4th year, Visual Arts) dissertation research focuses on the life and work of Ethiopian-Turkish artist Kuzgun Acar (1928–1976), a pioneering Black artist and activist whose entire oeuvre was destroyed in the aftermath of the 1971 and 1980 Turkish military coups. For instance, in response to his involvement in the anti-fascist labor movement Acar’s public sculpture Türkiye Rölyefi (1967) was removed from the facade of the Emek İşhanı building in Ankara, Turkey and melted by the military government in 1974, leaving behind only a 24 x 18cm black and white analog photographic print. Hande’s completed dissertation will provide the first critical study of Acar's life and work, remediating a significant gap in the history of modern art and situating his work within an international network of Black and Middle Eastern visual artists. Hande is currently completing her chapter on the public artworks of Acar, as well as translating segments of the book Kenya-Crete-Istanbul: Human Biographies from the Slave Coast (2005) by Kenyan-Turkish activist and founder of the Africans’ Culture and Solidarity Association in Turkey, Mustafa Olpak.

Following the presentation, other attendees will have the opportunity to share, discuss, and receive feedback on their own works-in-progress.

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