Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Turhan Selçuk was drawing for a better world.

Today Jean-Marie sent me an interesting article on Turhan Selçuk.

The text shows well the commitment of this exceptional man, and the impact of his work in the field of graphic arts in Turkey.

Thanks to the authors, Tan Oral and Izel Rozental, to give permission to Jean-Marie, to put it online on our blog.

This is the article:

We lost Turhan Selçuk, a grandmaster of graphic humor. His throne in our world of cartoons will last forever.

Nine years ago, we celebrated Turhan’s 60th anniversary in arts. During the meeting his close friends expressed their feelings and thoughts. I'd like to share once more all I said that day about him:
"This evening I want to point out Turhan Selçuk’s three awards I found most important.

I have the chance to be witness of the last 40 years of his 60 years artistic career. This position gave to me the opportunity to criticize and "to re-start" our subject. I consider ‘temporary cartoon’ as a 20th century art. In fact, it actually belongs to the second half of this century. In the 1950s, short after the World War II, a fresh new line started to comment the new world order. In our country as well as in the world, the first striking examples of this new art emerged simultaneously.
In the 50’s, political and editorial cartoons were already there in a traditional style. I was not involved with political cartoons at that time. Their lines were mediocre. However, with his strong artistic power, Turhan was among the firsts who gave avant-garde examples of this new graphic style.
However, those years our country was experiencing violent struggles for democracy and the cartoonists founded themselves in a hot political task. The usage of the new graphic style as a tool of interaction gave birth to a new synthesis. Political commentary and criticism were highly effective in this new graphic art-line.
This synthesis of a whole new dimension, amazing effects and unique version, brought to Turhan in 1957 his first international award: The Palme d'Or from Bordighera, Italy. The rest bent over with fruit. The called ‘50 Generation’ community collected lots of international awards. In my opinion, that’s Turhan’s first important prize!..

I interviewed once Turhan on the occasion of his 40th year in arts and asked him, "What were the factors who pushed you on this way?” His answer was explanatory: "At the beginning, drawing was a single desire, it could be or not… But then, my resentment against injustice became strong. ‘Graphic humor’ was a powerful tool to reflect my anger on a wider environment. The cartoonist lives under the influence of the incident."

Its influence and power increasing, this 20th century graphic art, dealing with the problems of the people, went down to the society. Turhan Selçuk and ‘the 50 Generation’ were accepted by the public. However, at that day, works defending the interests of the people were not popular. On the contrary, entertaining cartoons and comics were in vogue. This struggle of the lines lasted for years, and the result was another interesting synthesis.
In 1971, this synthesis has brought a new award. During the dark days of March 12 regime, a small ceremony was organized at the Union of Artists of Turkey for Turhan who was nominated as the “People's Artist". I explained the rationale of this award as, “succeeding to make his work accessible to the public when defending the interests of the people..."

Turhan, has always admitted the importance of this award.

I believe this Turhan's most important second prize!..

I asked him once, "If you have the choice to make part of an action that could make live yourself and other people in a better world, what would you choose, cartooning or the action?" His response was as follows: "A better, happier world is a purpose for people, a desire. Of course I would choose the action. But I cannot imagine a world without cartoons.” And he continues, "Does sometimes my lines becomes serious, or what? Sometimes I laugh at my own drawings. I feel bored when my editors are unreactive. But the reaction from my readers relaxes me. That is the greatest reward. "
Yes, I think that this is the third and the most important prize of Turhan!..“

Published on Taraf newspaper, the 12th March 2010, translated from Turkish by Izel Rozental

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