Castellani showcases ‘The Istanbul Painter’
Since early January, the left-rear gallery of the NU’s Castellani Art Museum has been filled with the works of Haydar Hatemi. Known as “The Istanbul Painter,” he’s painted on large canvas, wooden tables and even ostrich eggs.
His work is now on display.
“It’s opulent, idealistic and romantic. You have to look at why Mr. Hatemi is making this art, and why he chose this particular subject, which is Istanbul during the time of the Ottoman Empire,” said Carrie Hertz, curator of the exhibition.
Hatemi was born in Iran, and trained in classical Persian miniature painting and sculpting. In 1983, he immigrated to Turkey where he was inspired by the cosmopolitanism and rich history of Istanbul. Taking the city as his subject, Hatemi creates artworks imagining Ottoman life and landscapes.
“Istanbul is, for me, a very special city,” he explains. “In Turkey, they know me as the ‘Istanbul painter.’”
Hatemi believes the Ottoman Empire, and its past of peaceful coexistence, continues to enchant the countries of the Middle East.
“Decorating eggs is common in European countries,” Hertz said. “He obviously takes it to extremes with such detailed portraits and landscapes.”
A sample of such work, which has lavished the royal palace of Prince Al-Thani of Qatar for more than a decade, will be at Castellani for public viewing and enjoyment until May 27.
A number of events have been planned in correlation with the exhibition.
Dr. John Voll, a professor of Islamic history and associate director of the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University, will speak on “Late Ottoman Istanbul: The Cosmopolitan Capital,” on Thursday, Feb. 2, from 12:30 until 1:30 p.m. Following that will be the opening reception for the exhibition, featuring traditional food and music provided by the Turkish Cultural Center of Buffalo on March 18, from 2 until 4 p.m. The final event will be April 29, as the museum will host a Whirling Dervish demonstration and recitation of poetry written by Mevlana Rumi from 2 until 4 p.m.
The Castellani Art Museum is open Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. Admission is free for members and students with proper I.D. For information about this exhibition, contact Hertz, curator of folk arts, at 716-286-8290.