The object looks airy and fragile allthough of its solid form. With the the sculpture of a white life jacket on a gallery padestal Diyarbakır based artist Cengiz Tekin is imposing the relevance of the subject: the biggest refugee crisis since WWII and its tragedies. Beside it’s delicate look it is made out of solid marble. The material is underlining the gravity of the topic. And it is representing the tragedy of thousands of human bodies sinking to the ground of the mediterranean seas due to a merciless policy against refugees fleeing crisis areas. Humans are forced to risk their lifes because of the absence of international solidarity with their emergency. Some were even killed by non functioning lifewests sold in Turkey not for the purpose to save life but to make profit.
Cengiz Tekin’s second Solo Show at Pilot Galeri in Istanbul takes its title “Just Before Paradise” from the artists latest video work that was shot in 2015. We see a group of refugees waist deep down in dark waters in the video. That group of young men seem like they are singing a quiet anthem as the waves lap up against the shore. They all have a proud expression on their faces as they realize the last duty for their gone friends with whom they shared a common fate.
‘’Just Before Paradise’’ draws attention to forced migration and refugee crisis and also depicts the tides between death and life as a boundless crisis instead of a regional one. The Video was shot on the shore of Kilyos on the Black Sea close to Istanbul. The performers are refugees also in real life. Istanbul is internationally one of the centers of forced migration between Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Europe.
“Just Before Paradise” will be open to visitors until 23 April 2016 in Pilot Galeri/İstanbul.