Istanbul is such a contradictory city. Being part of Turkey where homophobia, hate crime and other (not only LGBT-related) human rights violations are widespread, while having openly rainbow signs, not to mention the annual gay pride march. Interlinked signs of modernity and conservatism, all in one place, a step away from each other.
When in Istanbul last June to participate in a gay pride march and to meet friends, I started noticing rainbow flags and rainbow signs in various parts of the city, and decided to make pictures of them whenever I notice.
These pics are made in the streets of Istanbul, when passing by stores, shops, bars, visiting art galleries or using metro, in mainly unexpected places.
One of the interesting - but expected, as I learned about it before traveling to Istanbul - art related rainbow displays came in a form of “Rainbow” installation at the Istanbul Modern by Turkish-Armenian artist Sarkis Zabunyan, better known as Sarkis. While not directly LGBT-linked, I view it as part of the overall experience.
[…] the installation “Rainbow” was produced in neon and measures 7.5 meters in height and 15 meters in width. Showing a rainbow in the process of forming, the installation “Rainbow” will illuminate art and museum visitors for 365 days. “Rainbow” reminds us of the states of becoming of art as a never-ending field of thought and action. It symbolizes the endless rhythm, excitement, and joys of life.
Sarkis defines his installation as a “rainbow gaining momentum toward the Big Bang” and adds: “Rainbow should be regarded as a miracle. Art is always about new beginnings; there are references, but in the process of creating, all of these references disappear, giving way to fresh ideas.”