EventsSeen Beyond

Mahalla Festival


On the occasion of the 15th Istanbul Biennale the InEnArt team and diyalog will open the Mahalla festival on September 14th at Contemporary Istanbul.

Mahalla is the first festival of an emerging network of global players working in the field of arts and culture focusing on the current migration flow. The festival takes place in the frame of parallel events of the 15th Istanbul Biennial between September 13 and October 20.

The Mahalla festival features more then 25 cultural initiatives of the civil society and 37 participating Artists, Curators and Academics from 14 Countries at 9 venues around the town.

The work of the participants is focusing in various ways on themes around hospitality, identity, homelessness, passing and fluctuation, the changing of an existing order and the dissolution of borders.

The experiences of the past years regarding hospitality, migration and hostility are exchanged in round tables and panels.

Three artists from different backgrounds, different places and different disciplines will present their artwork in the frame of the Mahalla festival at the art fair Contemporary Istanbul 2017. All three have met and worked together since 2014, in Istanbul, at the art cooperative Arthere. As a result of the Syrian war, two of the artists were forced to flee to Turkey. Neither one of them knew of each other before and they hadn’t realized that a war would have brought them together in a new phase of exploration. They were filled with many mixed feelings, having come from a troubled geopolitical atmosphere to Turkey from it’s neighbor, Syria. They have shared together, good days, bad days and they share worries about future. The works shown might or might not reflect these feelings and how they have been affected by migration, war, hope and life.

The participating artists are Omar Berakdar, Ali Omar and Gülsün Öykü Dogan.

The festival will continue until October 20 with talks, presentations, peformance, concerts, film screenings and round tables.

Learn more about the program of the Mahalla Festival.

Photo by Omar Berakdar

The festival will be supported by


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In Cooperation with


GI_Logo                            Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung_Logo_transparent


IIC-colore-istanbul_sm_3                      austria_kulturforum



Thomas Büsch

Filmmaker, Founding Member and Secretary General of diyalog, promotion of cultural exchange with Turkey. Since 2012 he is also project manager of InEnArt.

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