Self-Portrait as an Ottoman Woman (2012-2016)

99 archival postcards, 173 x 193 cm (68.11” x 76.3”) framed
The first version was presented at East and West: Visualising the Ottoman City, Peltz Gallery, Birkbeck College, London, 6 June – 30 June 2014. Curated by Leslie Hakim-Dowek
The second version was presented at Overseas, The American Collage of Greece Gallery, 4 March – 2 April 2016. Curated by Galini Notti.
The third version was presented at In Reverse, DEPO, Istanbul, 9 March 2017 – 9 April 2017
Third version also presented at Orientalism, The Institut Valencià d’Art Modern, Valencia, 6 March – 20 September 2020
Curated by Rogelio López Cuenca & Sergio Rubira

Self-Portrait as an Ottoman Woman consists of a collection of popular postcards of women in traditional costumes and national dresses that geographically represents the whole of the post-Ottoman landscape but chronologically references various historical moments and ideological contexts. Rejecting archival classifications based on geographical and chronological taxonomies, the work is rather organised according to the position of the women in front of the static camera: the direction of their gaze, the types of shots and the particularities of posture and hand movements. With the creation of movement as its central organisational principle, the work formally plays with archival and photographic systems as it claims to produce a self-portrait

In the work the idea of the ‘Ottoman woman’ is constructed by the ‘inappropriate’ grouping of heterogeneous material that draw from Ottoman, Orientalist and nationalist perspectives and which reference diverse ethnic and social positions. Combining representational strategies and addressing a collective body and action, the work complicates the indexical power of the photographic and the category of the Ottoman woman as a potential space for subjective identification. Making the case for an Ottoman woman that reclaims visual space, the work from the position of the female author also reclaims specific visual practices from their own western histories.