IB Visual Arts Exhibition: Dilara Lal Altaylar

  1. Lost in the Moment

Watercolor and colored pencils on paper

50×70 cm

This work is inspired by people’s overthinking of their past mistakes and missing the opportunities offered to them by today. The time is running so fast that they get old without seizing the moment while alienating from the outside world and themselves. The hourglass and the decay of the figure symbolize people’s alienation from their identities due to trying to get rid of their past mistakes they cannot change. The clock in the background with a distorted shape represents how fast time passes.

2. Déjà vu

Acrylic on canvas

35×50 cm ×3

These paintings show the distortion of linearity of time, in which the person loses his/her understanding of the past and present, which is also called déjà vu. After searching for the scientific and theoretical explanation behind this state of mind, I gathered the feeling of estrangement felt during déjà vu with the reasons lying behind it such as the split perception theory, dominant eye theory, and epilepsy. I used cool and analogous colors with a monochromatic background to create a sense of spirituality.

3. Under Pressure

Sewing and acrylic on canvas

100×120 cm

A nation’s past forms its culture which influences the personalities and habits of its citizens. In the society I live in, people are expected to act based on the social norms determined by Turkish culture. As a person who doesn’t fit in those norms, I wanted to reflect the cultural pressure exerted on people. I sewed a traditional Turkish lace and made hand-embroidery, stiffened them giving the shape of a human face. I sewed traditional needlework on the edges of Turkish traditional fabrics I draped, which come out of the stiffened face and symbolize the suppressed ideas of citizens.

4. History of Women

Charcoal and coffee on paper

70×100 cm

The preliminary intention of this piece is showing the struggles women have been through during the women’s rights movements and the comparison of the past with present. Inspired by my country’s withdrawal from Istanbul convention, I was inspired to reflect the history of women and their movement. In order to give the drawing a vintage look, I used coffee, a cultural element, as painting material.

5. Dark Sides of Marriages

Markers and color pencils on paper

100×55 cm

Inspired by the past and culture of country, I designed a collection offering criticism for the dark sides of marriages including rapes, femicides, child marriages, and beating women, which are common social issues in my country. I juxtaposed the social issues with the Turkish concept “çeyiz” and its authentic aesthetics. Through the experimentation with colors, for of materials, and silhouettes, I aimed to attract attention to abuse of women.

6. The Subconscious Mind

Charcoal and watercolor on paper

42×30 cm

This artwork is influenced by Oğuz Atay’s short story titled “The Forgotten”. I aimed to dig into my past including my memories, fears, and pleasures that I have been trying to hide in my subconscious mind. The dusty room in the drawing symbolizes my mind, which is an allusion to the short story. I drew various objects as symbolism that sheds light to my past. The black-to-white color scheme creates a sense of flashback, which is contrasted with the vivid colors of the brains representing the active state of mind.

7. Raped

Sewing and photography

4928×3264 pixels ×3

I was inspired by the past of a friend of mine who got raped at a young age and was forced to marry the rapist to “protect” the reputation of her family. After learning her distressing story, I felt an urge to reflect this inhumane situation in the form of an artwork. I designed a dress that would be considered “provocative” if worn here outside. To give the garment a damaged look, I ripped the edges of the fabrics. I sewed traditional hand-embroidery with flower motifs and used it to cover the exposed body parts of the model.

IB Visual Arts Exhibition: İlke Yağmur Çavdar

1 – Expectations of Kin

Acrylic and spray paint on canvas

50×70 cm

This piece is about how expectations are set about kids even before they were born. The color red symbolizes the blood of kin but also the power people have over an embryo. The baby drawing has dimension whereas the faces of people fall flat to point out that it is the child who will be making the decisions no matter who his or her kinship includes. The façades are inspired by the illustrations of Persepolis while the embryo is based on Leonardo da Vinci’s “Study of the Fetus in the Womb”.

2- What You See of Me

Digital photography (print)

28×42 cm

The work is a critique of how different the way women are viewed and they are is. The camera can be seen as the eye of the beholder, looking to view what it wants to see. The layered photographs show the different sides of the same person and the monstrous layering of the photographs imply that the image someone has in the beholder’s mind can be disrupted if the sides of a person is seen as two different entities. The composition of the piece was initially inspired by Beksiński’s “Horn Player”. 

3- The Socially Acceptable Addiction

Acrylic on canvas, coffee beans

100x 100cm

This work is inspired by how caffeine addiction is too commercialized to be seen as a real problem. In today’s society, people’s worth are rewarded to them by how much they are willing to harm themselves in the name of productivity. The coffee beans are glued on the canvas to imitate pills so that it is comparable to other addictive substances. The composition of the piece is based on Beksiński’s “Confession”. The colors of the subject are chosen to be reminiscent of coffee.

4- The Death of Major Tom

Pen and watercolor on paper

28×42 cm

The work is inspired by a song by David Bowie called “Space Oddity” which follows the astronaut Major Tom’s thoughts slowly drifting to its death in space. The helmet of the astronaut is drawn like and eye with a world pupil because his memories on Earth are what he recalls even as he is dying. The space is painted inside him as he is slowly starting to become one with the nothing and his memories are what fills the skies as a symbol of what was tying Major Tom to his humanity.

5 – The Sleep of Ignorance 

Watercolor and colored pencil on paper

25×35 cm

The work is about the bliss acceptance of the problems in our lives gives us, and how it does not make the problem disappear. The style of the piece is based on kid’s book illustrations in an attempt to condemn how deeply rooted propaganda is in every nook of the media while  The technique of layering of watercolor and colored pencils are inspired by Chris Hong’s illustrations and the color selection of the watercolor wash is based on Joe Sorren’s artworks. 

6 – The Rotting Routine 

Digital (print)

40×70 cm

The preliminary inspiration for this piece is Portinori’s “Migrants” and “Weeping Woman”  by Picasso. This piece displays the routine life of a young woman as well as her life story drawn out for her. The spirals symbolizes living a life that is already decided for her and not being able to see it happening in your life. In the piece, while living in a routine is characterized with sharp shapes, the real personality of the woman can be seen through the real waves and curls on her hair.  The baby’s hair connects with the tie’s spiral, which shows how inevitable the “spirals” are.

7 –The Screaming Life

Linocut on real leaves installed with a branch and flowerpot

30×40 cm

The linocut print design is heavily inspired by Edward Munch’s “The Scream” and the animal cells. The piece is about the realization that everything is made up of living things. At our core, we are all thousands of cells; therefore, none of us superior to one another. The work is also inspired by the fact that plants scream when you cut them, so I wanted to make a piece about how another living organism would react to being hurt if it could interact with us like humans do. 

IB Visual Arts Exhibition: Barış Apaydın

  1. Mirroring Image

Red and Blue Edding Porcelain Markers

100×70 cm

June 2019

This painting is inspired by “The Yellow Christ” by Paul Gauguin and “Christ Carrying the Cross” by El Greco representing the continuous portrayals of Christ figure through different centuries. I also used crucifixion to reference the Second Coming of Jesus and the cycle of life and salvation. By using colored lights to highlight the paintings, I symbolized how the topic of religion can be perceived distinctly in different times and countries.

2. Plaster Saint

Medical Plaster Tape, Plaster, Wood Glue, Vaseline, Ceramic Adhesive, Rusty Metal Post, Metal String, Oil-Paint

180 cm

February 2020

I used medical plaster tape to create a cast of my friends’ faces and used metal strings to attach them to the metal post I found and cleaned from the garbage dumb. I then filled a bucket with ceramic adhesive and splashed oil paintings on it. The faces symbolize how people hide their faces behind a common mask even though their own uniqueness. The post they are attached to with strings represents their inhibition, and the colors symbolize distorted state of their essence.

3. Egg comes first, then the chick

Charcoal Sticks, Red Edding Porcelain Marker

100×70 cm

November 2020

The idea of life and growth process’s recurrence fascinates me. Despite the unique beauty of each person, the materialistic and monotone world of the 21st century prevents people from their journeys. The red footsteps represent the colorful and vivid nature of the chick in its most pure form, yet the grey and white egg with endless stairs symbolize the fabrication of personalities. The cycle of birth, growth and adulthood is being stripped away from them.

created by dji camera

4. The Temple

Drone Photograph

January 2021

I was inspired by Da Vinci’s golden rule painting for this photograph. The concept of beauty and aesthetics is a major part of life, and the cycle of beauty in nature and the ratio of perfection in a mathematical aspect is truly fascinating. I wanted to recreate this cycle of beauty in my life with this photograph. I used a drone to capture the image from a distant height in a circular environment in which I am lying down naked representing the purest form of human. 

IB Visual Arts Exhibition: Zeynep Ak

My ideas started with an image that I visualized while listening to music. It was the duet of a string quartet and a percussionist, playing two different pieces “The Old Istanbul” and “The New Istanbul”. As I heard the harmony of the eastern and western tunes, I started to think about Istanbul’s in-and-between evolution over time. It felt like walking a tightrope over the city, seeing all the historical texture from a birds-eye and experiencing the rope swaying up and down with my heartbeat synchronized with the beats of the Doumbek. This brainstorming made me realize that I usually use the image of a rope to visualize my feelings and emotions. Therefore, I decided to have the common element of rope in my artworks rather than a central theme. I used rope for the metaphoric depictions of some different situations
that I have been into. Like a rope made of many twisted strings, I thought to use each of the ropes in the artworks with a different message and theme symbolizing a section of my life, and in the end, combine all the strings to constitute the rope of my entire life.

The rope in the first painting was symbolizing my past with the hanged traditional carpet and my future with the unknown darkness. As the feet go away from the carpet, it describes to exploring new cultures and experiences. In the second work, the rope represents the undesired responsibilities to adapt to the society that is impossible to get away.  The third work stands for the unfulfilled expectations, like in The Dinner of Trimalchio, moments that start with pleasure end with pain. The rope in the last work symbolizes the obstacles restricting freedom. However, the power of creativity, showed with the shadows, overcomes the obstacles. 

Since each piece had a different message, I used different techniques -such as watercolor, acrylic, and sculpture- that would support the mood and the atmosphere of the artwork the most. 

The exhibition is held at a dark room illuminating the works with colored lights. Hence, I used light as a visual effect to make shadows falling on the pieces, and creating a deeper and more realistic sense on the audience. Moreover, the lights led me to canalize the focus of the audiences on the more illuminated parts and helped me convey the message.

1- Barefoot

Acrylic on canvas

35×50 cm

The hanging carpet on the rope symbolizes my home, and past because of the cultural motifs on the carpet. The background of the forepart of the rope is black and empty, indicating that I am going towards an unknown in the future with barefoot, meaning defenseless; and the rope that I am walking on will be harder since the carpet will no longer be there to soften my steps. In this work, the rope symbolizes my growth over time and it also connects my past and the future.

2- Ghost

Wood, cloth, rope

6x15x30 cm

Although this work looked like a shroud and created a negative atmosphere at first glance, the main thing I tried to explain was acceptance. Under the white fabric surrounded by rope, it seems as if there is a human figure who wants to get rid of everything on it. Here the rope shows our responsibilities from the moment we were born to be accepted by society. When we remove these responsibilities, a ghost is left with a white fabric. At this point, what I accept is that if we do not want to be a ghost in the society, we can never avoid some of the responsibilities reminding that we are still alive and we are there.

3- Sleepysand

Plaster, epoxy, modeling clay, wooden sticks, shells, acrylic

10x20x25 cm

When the fisher’s anchor gets in the beach’s eye, it awakens the beach. As the beach stretches, the fisherman is drawn deep into the water. The rope used in this work symbolizes the unfulfilled expectations.

4- Silhouette

Watercolor on paper

70×100 cm

A multi-layered image has emerged as the hand, butterfly wings and butterfly body are drawn on different pieces of paper and presented in different planes. The image is deepened by the shadows of the hand falling on the wing of the butterfly. While the rope in the work expresses the restrictions of the freedoms of people and the obstacles encountered, the butterfly figure created with shadow in the background shows that there could always be a solution.

IB Visual Arts Exhibition: Asiye Erdöl

Ever since I was a kid, I was being bombarded with ideas and ideas and beings surrounded with death. Every summer, my home would be infested with mosquitos, which was common in my culture. I witnessed the first deaths of my life whenever my parents killed those mosquitos. Whatever moved only moments ago no longer moved. Its parts were scattered on the surface where they had met their demise. After that, I asked myself:
“What lies beyond death?”
Everyone had their answer. Some would say that a God awaited us after death. Some insisted on a return to nature. Others concluded that everything would be lost forever after death.
While these opinions did not seem to agree on a select answer, listening to them gave me an idea: An artistic take on what lies beyond death.
Death is the cessation of life in an organism. It is the most visible inevitability that every human must experience for others before they themselves go through the same process. The dead body attracts detritivores and saprophytes, creatures that consume dead material to survive. Layers of the body shed and get eaten by these organisms, eventually leaving bones and
fossilized remains. Warzones, severed bodies, decaying remains, all were either before or after we start to look at death as what it is.
However, because of its material inevitabilities, death became a part of every culture. One of the few species to mourn their dead, humans created elaborate ways to experience and express their losses. Over time, religions appeared and gave humans a way out. They believed
that the essence of a human lives on and perseveres in an afterlife, where the dead would be responsible in their previous lives. Some others thought that our lives are endless cycles, and that each person’s actions in their life would determine their next life.
I intended to capture the process of death in a four-step manner: Fatal events, death, decay, and new life. I chose war to depict the first step, as it is one of the most graphic representations of a cause of death. Then, I focused on the rituals surrounding death and what
happens to the body. Surprisingly, I had found more life in death than I expected. Because the physical exhibition was canceled due to the recent pandemic, I and my classmates created a virtual exhibition on the school website.

1- Last Men Standing

Digital photography (print)

30×21 cm

Derived from the term “last man standing,” the work intends to express the violent connection between war and death. The figures are scattered around the surface; the closer a figure is to the candlelight, the more likely that it is standing, therefore alive. The candlelight is to represent the still-persevering life, faintly shining through amid the chaos and death that surrounds it. However, its dim light also points out the apparent absence of life. Thematically, the work represents an event surrounding death.

2- The Rest

Acrylic on canvas

200×140 cm

Influenced by Ancient Turkic funerals, this work depicts a newly dead man lying on the ground. While reading through a history magazine, I found some ancient Central Asian customs interesting and decided to draw some things based on their looks. I used animalistic carvings on the stone nearby to represent animal spirits generally present in shamanist culture. It represents the first apparent consequence of death

3- Putrefaction

Sculpture: Plaster, acrylic

The third step to the journey beyond death, this sculpture represents the graphic aspect of decay. The sculpture is colored black due to its association with death, which contrasts to the alive maggots left white. The holes in the eyes and the maggots convey that the body had been dead for a long time. Its jagged edges further express the advanced state of decay. I deliberately used my hands while applying plaster to give it a rough texture.

4- Reemergence

Digital Animation

This animation depicts a small plant growing inside a hollow skull. The body that housed the skull is long dead, leaving a relic of its existence behind. The rest, completely decomposed into the soil, nurtures the plant’s growth. The animation loops, because this process happens indefinitely; life returns to death, and death returns to life. This is the final piece of what lies beyond death: Life itself, which begins the cycle anew.

IB Visual Arts Exhibition: Barış Aldemir

Dreams are the expressions of our subconscious. We dream not because we want to, but because we have no other choice. However, the concept of “dream” is not limited to what we see while we are asleep. We dream of a better future, in which everyone receives good healthcare or education for free; we dream of having a good job and a big house. When a dream becomes true, it is a truly magical moment. However, we cannot always accomplish our dreams. Sometimes, we fail miserably. What fascinates me about dreams is their uncontrollable nature. Because each person is unique, their dreams are different from each other. Our dreams are shaped by who we are, yet we have no control over them. So, in my exhibition, I decided to reflect on this uncontrollable nature of our dreams, with its sides that are too dark or depressing to be included in a children’s book. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the exhibition could not be held and the artwork was published on a school website. The digital pieces that were supposed to be printed were included in digital form with their predicted size if printed.

I believe that to understand an idea, one should begin by reflecting on themselves. Therefore, the exhibition starts with a reflection on myself, Leave Me Alone!, as I question what I want, or dream of, in my life, during this period of time. It is a manifestation of my unwillingness to share about myself. I want to be left alone. I dream of peace and quiet. The second and third pieces in the exhibition help develop the story through the idea of reflections. Total Internal Reflectionconnects my unwillingness to share about myself to the lack of communication between people in our society through the buildings we live in. I believe this lack of connection with other people is a result of the urbanization after the Industrial Revolution. The next piece, Reflections, concludes this mini-journey through the idea of reflection by connecting to the theme of the exhibition: dreams. I believe that we are often too busy following our dreams that we do not have enough time to reflect on what we have done. Therefore, we become alienated from the concept of reflection. In Reflections, I try to communicate this idea through the abstractification of reflections on water. In the first three pieces, the medium used gets less reflective progressively as it goes from graphite to ink, and from ink to charcoal.

The fourth piece, the Essence of Life takes us back to our childhood dreams. When you ask a child where they want to live in 30 years, they will probably say: “a castle”. No ordinary family car ever adorned the bedroom wall of a child in the form of a poster, it has always been an exotic one, probably a Ferrari. Therefore, the Essence of Life delves deep into our childhood dreams through the image of a child in the act of eating, and the origins of our attachment to consumption.

The next two pieces highlight the coming of age, when we learn that our dreams probably will not become true and the reasons for that. While Burnt, Chained & Broken expresses this realization on a personal level, the Intergalactic Bedouin explores what prevents us from achieving our dreams as humankind.

The seventh piece in the exhibition, “a blessing and a curse” focuses on those highly privileged people who are “living the dream” of consumption while making others live through hell. The next piece the House of God connects to those who live through hell and what keeps them going on even if they are battered and bruised.

The Girl in the Gallery is the last piece in the exhibition, and it aims to evoke a sense of mystery and curiosity we feel when looking at art in the viewer. However, this time the art is not what is hung on the wall. The focal point now becomes the girl and we try to figure out what she thinks about the artwork she has seen. We will never know what goes through her head, but we can keep dreaming.

1 – Leave Me Alone! (Self-portrait)

Graphite on paper

46×61 cm

With this piece, I have tried to create something that reflects my personality as someone who does not like to share about himself, and my insecurities about having my photos taken. By covering some of my face with my hand, I wanted to express that insecurity, but I have left enough indicators for someone who knows me to understand that this is a self-portrait. This piece was also an exercise in foreshortening as I have drawn the hand that covers my face true to size and adjusted the proportions according to the hand.

2- Total Internal Reflection

Ink on paper

20×25 cm

Total Internal Reflection is defined as the complete reflection of a ray of light within a medium in physics. In the piece, we can see the reflection on the building, but we cannot see what is inside. As our cities developed through time, we became more oblivious to events happening around us and people living near us. The process of urbanization has killed the connection between people and we entered a state of total internal reflection, disconnected from others.

3- Reflections

Charcoal on paper

19×24.5 centimeters

We are too busy following our dreams; we usually do not take the time to reflect on ourselves. The piece tries to communicate this message through the abstractification of reflections on water. The abstractification is achieved by eliminating the midtones and establishing a matte surface area through the use of charcoal. Even though the reflections are “abstractified,” their presence in the piece is established by the balance of negative and positive spaces. Therefore, it is the balance between black and white that establishes this mishmash of abstract shapes as the water surface and gives depth to the piece.

4 – The Essence of Life

Digital (print)

50.4×69.3 cm

This piece is heavily inspired by Barbara Kruger’s work. It focuses on personal origins of consumerism. We define ourselves by what we consume. No child dreams of living in a shed. No child’s bedroom walls were ever adorned by posters of family cars. Everyone dreams of being wealthy, having a big house and a nice car. Our dreams are built upon the concept of consumption. However, we, as individuals, have nothing to do with the fact that our dreams are built upon consumption. The concept is slowly instilled in our brains from the moment we are born. The background is an edited photo of 2-year-old me eating corn on the cob, emphasizing the idea that our connection with consumption starts when we are very young and highlights our desire to consume in a raw, untouched manner, seen through a child’s eyes.

5- Burnt, Chained & Broken

Sculpture: plaster, wire, chain, glass, acrylic, spray paint

27x36x33 cm

This piece represents how the struggles in our life shatters our innocent, childish dreams. I started Burnt, Chained & Broken with the goal of creating a bust of myself. I have then discovered the rough texture I could create with plaster and really liked it. I have decided to embrace the rough texture and build on it as I went forward; I wanted to express the rough patches I went through in my life. I applied two coats of acrylic paint with a painting knife to preserve and emphasize the rough surface as the painting knife did not completely fill the dents in the surface. The first coat was a pink between a skin tone and flesh. The second coat was a dull shade of dark green to create a contrast and establish the base for the burnt look. I have then lightly spray painted the outer coat with black to complete the burnt look. White wire was added to create more contrast with the dark painted head and a brain/cloud-like outer shape represents our innocent dreams and ideas. I shattered a glass pane and added a few shards that I have picked into the wire structure. Finally, the chain around the neck was added to represent the conditions that prevent us from accomplishing our dreams while adding more visual weight to the lower portion of the sculpture and preventing it from becoming too top-heavy.

6- The Intergalactic Bedouin

Acrylic on canvas

70×50 cm

Bedouins are nomadic North African people. The nomadic nature of the Bedouin symbolizes the aspirations of humankind about going to space and exploring beyond the Earth. However, we built more obstacles ourselves because of our attachment to traditions, unwillingness to work together and accept change. We seek progression as we aspire to explore the universe and maybe find a habitable planet, yet we are attached to our values that prevents the progression we want. Instead of trying to create depth in the background through the variation of color, I tried to achieve the same sense of depth by incorporating the lighting while displaying the piece. A real light source interacts with the texture of paint on the canvas to establish the depth in the background.

7 – “a blessing and a curse”

Ink on paper

23×30.5 cm

Oil is a blessing and a curse. It is a huge resource of income that could help build better lives for everyone in oil-rich countries, but that is definitely not the case. Instead, a handful of people control the oil reserves, making millions that fuel their luxurious lifestyles, and are “living the dream”, while the public continues to live in poor conditions. The people who control the oil also tend to control the politics, leading to an endless loop of corruption. The figure in the piece is depicted as a rich Middle Eastern man whose brain has been replaced by an oil pump. As the oil pump works, oil drips out of his mouth to fill a tank. I wanted to represent how the oil-rich people, oblivious to all struggles the other people have, are driven by their lust to earn more through oil.

8 – The House of God

Digital photography (print)

40×30 cm

The concept of religion is an intriguing one, as it exists in some form in every culture in the world. Even if they differ vastly in terms of rituals and obligations depending on the cultural origins, all religions are similar in terms of their social functions. Religion is a comforting concept that tells you that you will be rewarded if you are a good person, gives you a psychological shelter when things are bad and hope that better days will come if you endure the struggles: “Your dreams will come true if you are good enough.” The piece focuses on religion as a shelter that protects people. Written on the sign in front of the First Baptist Church in America, “Mi casa es su casa.” emphasizes this approach that indicates no matter how bad things get, God will protect and comfort you, and you will always be welcome in his house.

9 – The Girl in the Gallery

Digital photography (print)


This piece focuses on the sense of mystery and curiosity we feel when we look at art. Art is not a part of our animalistic nature, but a product of our need to self-express. Therefore, it is not easily recognizable as our animalistic actions. We can easily understand the message a facial expression displays without any other information, but we need more information to process a piece of art, which can be our previous knowledge about a topic. Therefore, everyone can have a different conclusion about what a piece of art expresses. This photograph captures the moment in which someone is trying to process a piece of art. As the secondary audience, we are trying to process not only the piece she is looking at but also her looking at the piece. We do not know who she is, what knowledge she has that connects to the piece, or how her facial expression looks like at that moment. We will never know what goes through her head, but we can keep dreaming.