ÇUKUROVA INITIATIVE OF ART
Toro, Toros, Taurus… The free master of the Anatolian steppes giving its name to the range of mountains that embrace the Çukurova region!
In the discourse of the Hittites, the white bull empties its breath which is a warble of lightning from the Bolkar, Aladağ, and Taurus mountains… He continuously looks at their green serenity…
In his breath settles the Third Delta… A road/roads which opens / open to the oldest peoples of Anatolia; the Luwis, the Hattis, the Hurrians, the Hittites… The Hittite mountain road, the longest of those roads, forks at the summits. One of them extends to the First and Second Deltas, the other extends to the Third Delta. To that green velvet vastness… Mithras on its back, a pen in Mithras’s hand, they look at the flowers of Adonis…
While Mithras sticks his pen into his soul and expresses the new year of the universe, an art initiative is started in the Third Delta…
Its main principle is ‘’from the local to the national, from the national to the universal…” It flows like stars from the region of Çukurova, the ancient Cilicia, from the Eastern Mediterranean to the culture-art universe with various names such as Adana Art Days first, later Çukurova Art days, foremost. The star’s name is Çukurova Initiative of Art (ÇSG) now. It adopts being a modest pathfinder with culture-art events on days without compasses. ÇSG is not a foundation. This kind of structure has never been considered in any stage of its establishment. It is neither a platform nor an association as defined in the Turkish Law of Associations. It is a structuring designed above all of them, which depends on volunteering and whose functions are culture and art. It is an ‘’initiative” as the name applies.
It is regarded as at the beginning of its evolution process with this aspect of its. An approach such as the completion of this evolution has no place in the ÇSG and the GSG has never been such a structure. It was designed as a structure that will never complete / will be never able to complete its evolution. It is like a pyramid whose peak point is always missing. It has been anticipated that there would be associations such as the Writers’ House (YED), art platforms, foundations and other various organizations under the ÇSG which is a gabled roof even with this missing part of the pyramid.
The ÇSG has formed with the urge of the needs within this process. This process comprises a time of approximately thirteen years. The building stones in the structure of the ÇSG were paved with the Monument of Liberty of Press-1991, the Local Council of Press (1992) 1, 2, ,3, Adana Art Days (1999-2001) and Adana Cumhuriyet (Newspaper) Cultural Center events that took place simultaneously and the pains taken with the International Çukurova Art Days (UÇSG).
More than one thousand poets, writers, painters, and other culture-art people visited the region centered Adana within the scope of the mentioned event. Most of these people were from Turkey. The number of guests hosted only during the Adana Local Council of Press is 325. Nearly 300 artists and writers were hosted during the Adana Art Days which were organized thrice. The contributions of the ÇSG which cannot be denied to be a tradition now to the art and culture of the region has become the subject of scientific and artistic studies.
The ÇSG is an initiative with philosophy and principles. The events organized under the name of ÇSG are on the people’s side, in line with the Turkish Enlightenment revolution, their aesthetic level is high and they have a receptive characteristic. The ÇSG is against degenerate, arabesque, cheap and populist structuring. Nobody gives the impression of a high number of audience with artificial methods if the ÇSG events do not reach the targeted number of audience objectively. Because of this reason, it is far from popular art. Classical Music Recitals are given during the inauguration ceremonies.
No budgets are made for the ÇSG. We stand aloof from public funding. No sources have been demanded under the name of a project or other names from the central administration of the government and no attempts have been made about this topic and the use of such funding is never considered in terms of our principles. In spite of that, the contributions of the businessmen supporting the ÇSG, who are our friends and ÇSG volunteers are above all kinds of appreciation.
The UÇSGis a vanguard global artistic event!
Before explaining the UÇSG, we need to highlight the concepts such as the 3rd Delta, Cult of Çukurova and Çukurova Initiative of Art.
3rd Delta is a name, an epithet given to the region of Çukurova. It is the product of accumulation thousands of years old and – surely- a reactive approach. There are internal and external reasons for this reactiveness. The external reasons are about imperial approaches from an ethical point of view. The problem is quite complicated from an ethnic point of view. Considering the beginning of the existence of Turks in Anatolia as 1071 with racist-nationalist-worth conservatist approaches forms this side of the problem. At its most important side, there are the raising of the children and youth devoid of historical consciousness and faculty of dialectical thinking and the policy of distracting the social perception. At this point, the approaches of the 3rd Delta and the Cult of Çukurova can be interpreted as – maybe it is a little pretentious but – a quest for a historical paradigm with archaeological data. Some approaches make philosophy begin from Hermetism, thus from Egypt and some from the antique age, thus from Greece and these two (old-new) understandings of history (Egyptian – Ionic/Greek) invade the centuries-old discussion process within the history of humanity. Thus and so, while this continues, what are the origins of the 3rd Delta and Cult of Çukurova? Is it not necessary to answer the questions about the places of these two concepts?
We are just trying to emphasize the importance of the topic with these. The rest is the work of archaeologists, anthropologists, historians, sociologists, social scientists, and researchers.
Although the 3rd Delta has been the most important bridge in the transfer of the Mesopotamian and Egyptian civilizations to the West and the transfer of the developments in the West to the East, it has always been ignored for some reason. However, the 3rd Delta is the undeniable reality of the world’s history of civilization even with the limited data we have – for now – in terms of history, sociology, archaeology, and anthropology. According to us, this rich accumulation of the 3rd Delta has the quality of cultural proof which should be defined as the ‘’Cult of Çukurova.” When we approach the topic with a point of view considering these, it is seen that the definition of the Cult of Çukurova brought into question by the Çukurova Initiative of Art appears as the consciousness for protecting the historical heritage of Anatolia, beginning from the Çukurova region specifically. In a sense, it is understood that all events organized by the ÇSG volunteers are formed with this consciousness, the UÇSG foremost. With this aspect, the ÇSG events manifest themselves as events within a Dionysiac initiative against Byzantine Ida structurings and the Byzantine Pantheon.
The UÇSG is an event that is organized this way for the first time in the world (with its simultaneous organization in two countries). Place America where countries with large land exist on one side… The UÇSG’s way of an organization has a structure that has never been thought by anyone before even in Europe where states which are almost city-states exist. The UÇSG is organized in two countries (Syria -Turkey) at many centers (Aleppo, Lattakiyah, Adana, Kozan, Ceyhan, Mersin, Tarsus, Silifke, Anamur, Antakya, İskenderun, Samandağ) simultaneously. On one occasion, the events started in Lattakiyah and ended in Mersin.
The basic path of the UÇSG is ‘’from the local to the national, from the national to the universal.” The programs are structured with this approach to make the artists meet in a way suitable for the contents of the path in the UÇSG events:
Local with the local, local with the regional, regional with the regional, regional with the national, national with the national, national with the international…
Moreover, in the UÇSG, a special theme is chosen for each year. The content of this theme is tried to be filled with panels, conferences, concerts, presentations, workshops and art shows.
Beginning from the 11th UÇSG, the model of organizing a national, also international event with a new understanding (again for the first time in the world) was practiced. Events in London and Brighton in the United Kingdom and Sydney in Australia were started to be organized besides Syria within the UÇSG. Articles written by the representatives and writers who are ÇSG volunteers living in these countries were published in the Prize of Çukurova Memory Book. Within the UÇSG, besides these, an event was organized in Bodrum, except the Çukurova region. We are thinking of organizing UÇSG events in other cities in Turkey (İstanbul, İzmir, Ankara) and different places in the world (China, the Netherlands, Germany, the USA).
The UÇSG is built on two columns. Art events such as conversations, conferences, panels, concerts, exhibitions, shows and presentations about all branches of art make one of these columns. The media organ of this column is the event newspaper which is published once a year during the days when the events take place and it is distributed free of charge.
As for the Prize of Çukurova, it forms the second column of the UÇSG. In this regard, an original platelet is presented to the artist who is deemed suitable for the prize and a special book is published. This book which is distributed free of charge is the media organ of the second column on which the UÇSG towers. Çukurova Initiative of Art is the gabled roof on these two columns.
The Prize of Çukurova
The ‘’Prize of Çukurova”, which has been given since 2009, is the ‘’Special Prize Platelet” presented to the respectable person, the valuable artist who is deemed suitable for the prize, from one point of view. This platelet was abstracted from an object of the antique age on which a Tauroctony scene of Mithraism is implied. We believe that Mithraism is one of the building stones of the ‘’Cult of Çukurova.”
The Prize of Çukurova forms one of the two columns of the UÇSG, as it is mentioned before. The prize platelet’s source of inspiration is the thousand of years of cultural accumulation of our region. The story of the platelet is tried to be summarized with the article titled ‘’The Bull of the Taurus” you can read a few pages before. Moreover, a book is published in honor of the person who wins the prize. This book is about this person’s art if he or she is an artist or it is about his or her science if this person is a scientist. It also contains the biography of this person. This book is published only once. So to say, it gains the character of ‘’antique” at the moment it is published.
The Çukurova Initiative of Art, within the scope of the Prize of Çukurova, neither gives a ‘’Citizenship of Rome” – even – like in the antique age nor a ‘’Green Card” given by the USA today nor a license for making olive oil trade with ‘’Greek” stamp. It also does not give a rich cheque from a publishing house or foundation supported by a bank or holding today.
This prize, which was given for the first time on April 24th, 2009 under the name of ‘’Prize of Çukurova” within the scope of the International Art Days of Çukurova is not a motivation or success prize. It is a prize for appraisement. The prize should also be regarded as a ‘’peace prize” specifically.
Çukurova has been a bridge, a transition point between the worlds of the Middle East, Africa and Anatolia, between Sumerian, Babylonian, Hatti, Hurrian, Hittite and other Anatolian civilizations and between the Far East, the Eastern Mediterranean, Greek and Latin worlds since the neolithic age. Today, the neighbor of Çukurova, one the leading rare regions with an original past, a part of the region’s cultural identity, is in blood and tears from place to place from the southern coast of the Eastern Mediterranean to the Middle East and Iraq. The part of the region extending from Transcaucasia to Caucasia to Central Asia is wailing under the threat of cultural imperialism.
New investment and economical structuring programs in which Adana and İskenderun coasts are prominent prognosticate that Çukurova will be an important commercial center soon. Even this situation which should be responded positively in the name of our region cause the concern ‘’can it create a new justification for blood, tears and gunpowder smell?”’ in our region which is known as the ‘’land drinking blood.” These developments make the people of the Middle East and the region need peace more than ever.
Before this reality, the basic philosophy of our receptive and enlightened event which sides with labor and which is fed from human honor and philanthropy is ‘’peace” with one word. The Prize of Çukurova is given to artists, academicians, journalists and writers who are authors in various fields from cinema to theatre, from painting to music, from poetry to novels, from articles to narratives, interviews. It is also given to people and legal entities involved in culture and art who labor and produce in culture-art, science and literature fields, who promote and glorify Çukurova, who sow seeds of peace in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East.
The Prize of Çukurova which is given in Turkey, in the Eastern Mediterranean region primarily can also be given to an artist, culture-art person or scientist or a legal entity anywhere in the world when the ‘’artistic and social necessity” obliges.
The evaluation of the prize is made by the Selection Committee determined by the Çukurova Initiative of Art and it is announced by the press and mass media 15 days before the event date every year.
The special platelet prepared for this purpose is given to the person /people or the formation deemed suitable for the prize and also a memory book is published.