Signatures | Lost Traditions in Turkey | Travelspective

The art of heritage.

Traditions are to culture what chromosomes are to DNA. They are passed down from generation to generation like a genetic trait, helping to establish a societal identity. They connect people and places and provide a sense of security and continuity across generations. That said, in modern society keeping traditions alive can be difficult, and they are all too often cast aside and lost to new trends and technologies. That’s why we were surprised and excited to have met a couple of artists in Istanbul who are keeping some age-old practice alive, in-turn, revitalizing some of Turkish culture’s greatest lost traditions.

Suat is a master of shadow puppetry. He learned the craft as an apprentice from his older brother and has been practicing for more than 30 years. It’s a family institution that he now passes on to his daughtersNesime is an Ebru painter who was attracted to the style’s strict processes, but also its sense of surprise and spontaneity. She too learned as an apprentice more than 25 years ago and continues to teach new classes of marblers to this day.

While different in styles, both Suat and Nesime describe their dedication to their art forms as a desire to express their culture, whether on the stage or on the canvas. It’s not about money or fame, but rather a delight in what they do and a desire to keep these endangered art forms alive.