Graffiti art decorates Turkish capital – Xinhua

Turkey’s capital, Ankara, has been dubbed greyish, in comparison to colorful Istanbul, but graffiti artists are changing that stereotypical perception, bringing color to parks amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the heart of the bustling administrative city stands the Botanical Park, a gathering place since the early 1970s located under the majestic Atakule Tower, one of the capital’s emblems.

The park is one of the greenest and most peaceful neighborhoods in the city, and seems to be getting a new lease of life among young people with street artists allowed to decorate it with the help of the Ankara Metropolitan Municipality.

While many people are still indoors due to coronavirus restrictions, several artists are using public parks as places to display their artwork and lift dreary spirits.

“I love using colors in my works and I wanted to do something different in this park. I always do my best when painting, which is my passion,” Atione, a street artist told Xinhua, during an interview.

“In the past, we weren’t usually welcome in public places like this when painting freestyle artwork, but now we’re tasked with doing our job. It’s very satisfying” , he noted.

Atione has created several 3D underwater artworks in the park, which has generated a lot of interest from the public.

“I have a degree in painting from a faculty of fine arts in Izmir (western Turkey). Painting is my profession, graffiti is my enthusiasm and I express myself through it,” said the 33-year-old artist, famous for his works in several major cities.

Other parks and walls in Ankara have been painted by him and other artists in recent times, bringing them followers on social media where this once underground art form has become mainstream here.

“We wanted to bring the sea to Ankara. The idea was to present something very colorful to passers-by and lift their spirits in these difficult times, and I guess we succeeded because we had very positive feedback “Atione explained.

A pleasantly surprised group of passersby warmly congratulated the artist as he touched up his works with his spray cans.

“We follow him on social media and appreciate his works. We are very happy that he came to paint in our park. We are lucky to have him,” said a middle-aged woman before taking a selfie with him while walking. companions.

Atione said this was actually the first step in a larger project to transform the botanical park into a cultural habitat, a “living park”, with interactive installations and games, paintings and statues.

The incentive for the project was given and commissioned by the Ankara Municipality and one of its officials told Xinhua that other parks would follow suit.

“In these days of coronavirus, we wanted something colorful for our city and our capital which has long been criticized for being grey,” said Hasan Muhammet Guldas, head of the environmental protection department.

“People are tired of staying indoors for so long because of this pandemic, at least here they might feel some relief and think they were at sea,” he noted.

Guldas added that his office will also offer several murals across the city for budding artists to motivate them to express their feelings and uplift their mood during the prolonged lockdown.

Since last November, Turkey has imposed stricter measures such as night and weekend closures to curb the spread of the deadly virus.

Sharon P. Juarez