Designed by SAHA as a program of interaction and production for artists and curators, SAHA Studio focuses on providing art professionals from Turkey opportunities for learning, and strengthening their production environments through global networks and connections. SAHA Studio provides artists with a co-working space and curatorial support, in addition to a budget for research, production, exhibition and presentation for their projects. Inaugurated in the summer of 2019, SAHA Studio offers its participating artists curatorial feedback, collaboration and learning opportunities through the contribution of SAHA’s domestic and international partnerships at a repurposed 350 m2 space in Beyoğlu. In addition to the meet-and-greets and events organized at the SAHA Studio space with the participating artists, SAHA Studio contributes to the development of knowledge and connections for the artists with activities such as research trips and visits to exhibitions, collections and workshops. SAHA also supports the research of the curators and institution representatives it hosts from abroad for different periods of time at SAHA Studio, and ensures their interaction with the Istanbul art scene and SAHA Studio artists.

Within the scope of the 17th Istanbul Biennial, SAHA Studio will open its doors to the biennial audience on certain days and serve as a venue where artistic productions will be shared and talks are held. A closer look at the artistic production processes will be possible at SAHA Studio, where those who would like to establish a deeper bond with art will come together.

Opportunities provided by SAHA Studio

Personal work and activity space at SAHA Studio for a period of at least 6 months
Accommodation for participants who are not residents of Istanbul
Artist’s fee and research funding
Work production and exhibition budget
Equipment and technical support during the production and installation process
Curatorial, editorial, professional and legal counseling from SAHA team and consultants
Participation in SAHA's programs and at least two SAHA Studio Open events

SAHA Studio Selection Process 

The artists for the first two terms of SAHA Studio were determined by a selection committee invited by the SAHA executive board. The selection committee consisted of Hera Büyüktaşçıyan and Vasıf Kortun, who advised the program together with SAHA Studio director Çelenk Bafra. With an intention to provide opportunities for artists from outside of Istanbul, the committee approached independent art initiatives that SAHA supports to nominate artists from different regions of Turkey: Torun in Ankara, sub in Çanakkale, Loading in Diyarbakır, Hayy and Karantina in Izmir. Provided that they were in the field of visual arts, the artists whose portfolios were evaluated were selected with regard to their potential to benefit from SAHA Studio’s programs and opportunities, the dialogue that their past practices and experiences would bring, and the interaction their co-working would create, rather than the mediums in which they work or their age.

In 2021, the selection process at SAHA Studio was managed by a committee who also consults for SAHA Studio. Artist Gülsün Karamustafa, curator Özge Ersoy, and SAHA Studio’s director, curator Çelenk Bafra were members of this committee. While selecting the artists and curators who are to be invited for the program, the committee invited artists and consultants who previously participated in the program as well as independent curators to nominate artists. 40 artists were nominated by the 20 artists and curators. The selection committee selected the artists, writers, and curators to participate in the 2021 term of SAHA Studio. Nominators in 2021: Alper Aydın, Larissa Araz, Kerem Ozan Bayraktar, Hera Büyüktaşçıyan, Özgür Demirci, Övül Durmuşoğlu, Merve Elveren, Sibel Horada, Borga Kantürk, Vasıf Kortun, Gülşah Mursaloğlu, Zeynep Öz, Metehan Özcan, Aslı Seven, Başak Şenova, Fatoş Üstek, Dilek Winchester

In 2022, the participants of SAHA Studio's fifth term that is taking place in the period of June-December, is determined with the collaboration of the SAHA director and curator Celenk Bafra; the curators of the
17th Istanbul Biennial, namely Ute Meta Bauer, Amal Kanwar,and David Teh; as well as (Merve Ünsal, Özge Ersoy), which takes over the editorial coordination of SAHA Art Writing the same year as part of the collaboration with the World Weather Network.

SAHA Studio Terms

The first term artists chosen by the selection committee, Larissa Araz, Alper Aydın, Özgür Demirci and Sibel Horada, began working in August 2019, and presented their works between 20-22 February, 2020 during a three-day program including a series of conversations, panels and performances at SAHA Studio. First guest of SAHA Studio’s curatorial program was Alesha Mercado, who came from Mexico in October to conduct research on art and sustainable development in Turkey. Another participant of SAHA Studio was curator Naz Kocadere, who went to Amsterdam for ten months as part of SAHA Studio’s partnership with the De Appel Curatorial Programme. The artists who were invited to the second term, which started in March 2020, were Kerem Ozan Bayraktar, Borga Kantürk, Gülşah Mursaloğlu, Metehan Özcan and Dilek Winchester. Due to the pandemic, the first three months of the program mostly comprised online meetings and research activities. In order for the second term artists to benefit from the SAHA Studio space, the program was extended to the end of the year. Yasemin Nur, Murat Alat, Onur Gökmen, Ege Kanar, Bengü Karaduman, Merve Ünsal and Eva Vaslamatzi attended the third term of SAHA Studio, which started in January 2021 under pandemic conditions. The works produced by the artists were exhibited at the end of September. Five artists from different cities of Turkey, namely Eser Epözdemir (Istanbul), Berat Işık (Diyarbakır), Ali Miharbi (Istanbul), İz Öztat (Istanbul), and Tunca (Ayvalık) participated in SAHA Studio's fourth term between October 2021 and May 2022. Invited by the selection committee, artist Gülsün Karamustafa, curator Özge Ersoy, and SAHA director and curator Çelenk Bafra through the nominations by independent curators and SAHA Studio alumni, the artists presented their work to public between 24-27 May 2022 in tandem with a series of talks and performances.

Having begun its new term on June 2022, SAHA Studio invited Atıf Akın, Burcu Yağcıoğlu, Can Küçük, Elmas Deniz, and Ahmet Öğüt & the Silent University Orientation Program team (Amal Jibril, Suha Nabhan, Yelta Köm) in collaboration with the director of SAHA, Celenk Bafra; the curators of the 17th Istanbul Biennial, namely Ute Meta Bauer, Amal Kanwar, and David Teh as well as (Merve Ünsal, Özge Ersoy), which takes over the editorial coordination of SAHA Art Writing this year as part of the collaboration with the World Weather Network.
The participants of the new term are to work in the interactive setting of SAHA Studio until December 2022.

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