Supported by the International Cultural Exchanges Scheme

An installation was specifically created within the selected space for the 2022 Mahalla Festival held at the decommissioned Greek Elementary school in the region of Kurtulus in Turkey. 

The theme of the 2022 Festival was Palimpsest. A Palimpsest is originally a manuscript or piece of writing material on which the original writing has been removed to make room for later writing, however traces of the original remain. This theme was used in the context of Mahalla 2022 to indicate scripted and unscripted knowledge, polyphonic political, social, and cultural discourses and patterns.  

Bezzina’s initial idea was to approach this theme with the Panopticon (a central observation tower placed within a circle of prison cells) and how this relates to various notions of state power. The artist spent time in Istanbul in order to understand the location, space and build an installation in-situ accordingly.  The ‘tower’ aspect of the Panopticon was amended to make use of the negative space in the staircase present on site. The finished piece executed in wood, takes the form of an abstracted and toppled bust which hangs from the 3rd floor, 13m above the ground.  

Photo Credit: Aaron Bezzina