Cultural Diversity in Old Diyarbakır

The exhibition titled "Cultural Diversity in Old Diyarbakır" was curated by Osman Köker, the editor-in-chief of Birzamanlar Publishing House, and presented to audiences in Diyarbakır and Istanbul the lost peoples of Diyarbakır through more than 200 photographs, the majority of which belonged to the early 20th century. In addition to the architectural texture of the period, the photographs featured images of everyday life.

Information provided by travellers and researchers show that in the early 20th century the city of Diyarbakır was largely composed of the area within the city walls, known as Suriçi, that its population was close to 35 thousand and that half that figure was made up of non-muslim communities. Thanks to the exhibition titled "Cultural Diversity in Old Diyarbakır", many photographs of Orthodox Armenians, Syriacs, Chaldeans, Catholic and Protestant Armenians, Orthodox and Catholic Greeks and Ezidis were shared with the new inhabitants of Diyarbakır and audiences in Istanbul. The introduction provided by Birzamanlar Publishing House for the exhibition states that, according to the commercial yearbook Annuaire Oriental published in 1914, all the 12 jewellery firms in Diyarbakır, 10 out of 11 wall- and stonemasons, all 9 copper tradesmen and all the 10 companies that produced silk cloth, and 29 out of 38 tradesmen in the trade of goods such as cotton, silk, cereals and wool were Armenian. The exhibition also presented to its audience, other than those founded by Orthodox Armenians and Syriacs, photographs of the schools that were founded by Catholics and Protestants, newspapers published in Armenian, theatre groups revealing the vivid urban life, and Armenian and Syriac brass bands. Prepared in Turkish, Kurdish and English, the exhibition was first opened at the Sümerpark Amed Art Gallery in Diyarbakır, and then travelled to Istanbul where it met art lovers at Tütün Deposu.

Organized by Birzamanlar Publishing House; the exhibition was realized with support from Diyarbakır Art Centre (DSM), Anadolu Kültür, Global Dialogue and Diyarbakır Metropolitan Municipality.

Exhibition Program

14 January - 7 February 2012, Sümerpark Amed Art Gallery, Diyarbakır
10 February - 10 March 2012, Tütün Deposu, Istanbul