Turkey is living through an era of “bulldozer neoliberalism”. The aggressive neoliberal policies have had a detrimental impact on the environment, society, politics and the Turkish economy: an economy dominated by the construction sector.
Since the early 2000s, a construction boom has been emerging in Istanbul. Urban renewal projects are driven by government – corporation partnerships wanting to maximize profits. These projects ended up causing unjust rent increases, displacements, social exclusion and thus gentrification.
In 2013, Prime Minister Erdogan’s plan to build a shopping mall on Gezi Park, one of the very few remaining green spaces in the center of Istanbul, was the last straw for a society estranged by neoliberalism. This triggered a revolutionary movement and was the turning point in modern Turkish history. What began as an environmentalist sit-in at Gezi Park turned into the largest anti-government and anti-neoliberalism movement in Turkey.
As a resident of Taksim, I was a part of the protests from day one. This led to making what suffocates the city and what symbolizes neoliberalism in Istanbul my work: construction sites. Physically looking upon these immense sites generates a natural concern for how the land has changed and is being violently forced into a new vision of life order.
“Nature-Morte” demonstrates the “dead nature”, the artificialness of our current environment.