Walkabout in Istanbul

"Wave" Oil on canvas 120 x 120 cmTomorrow I conduct a “walkabout” of my exhibition “Ships and Dreams” currently showing at Arnavutkoy Gallery in Arnavutkoy, Istanbul. Where I come from it is fairly common practice to return to your exhibition after its opening, at a designated time to meet with visitors and to talk about the work on show. But here, I received an email asking “what is a walkabout?” I was reminded that, beyond its more mundane British derived meaning, it holds far greater significance for the Aborigines in Australia. And a day later, whilst reading in the brilliant “The Vintage Book of Walking” I came across Bruce Chatwin:

“The man who went” Walkabout” was making a ritual journey. He trod in the footprints of his Ancestor.” “By singing the world into existence, the Ancestors had been poets in the original sense of poesis, meaning “creation” .
Interestingly this passage from Chatwin’s Songlines starts with a reference to Islam, more specifically the Sufi orders:
“..siyahat or “errance”- the action or rhythm of walking -was used as a technique for dissolving the attachments of the world and allowing men to lose themselves in God. By spending his whole life walking and singing his Ancestor’s songline, a man eventually became the track, the Ancestor and the song…

With that, I have a walk to do, from home to studio, along the Bosphoros. Sometimes I stop mid stride take out a notebook draw a few lines, sometimes not. At the studio I’ll spend some hours moving paint around, so that when inspiration arrives I am there to catch the wave.

Yesterday at the metro two men in dark suits, one dandelion haired, speaking a language I could not identify. On the metro a young women in green, a harpist shuffles her music, an autumn shower of note; finally reaching composure but she is still not quite with us, deep in her songlines.


About dianapage

Artist moving between countries, cities and media. Currently living in Istanbul, formerly resident in Cape Town, South Africa. Divide my time between the solitude of the studio and walking the city and playing with friends.
This entry was posted in bosphoros, damascus, don maclennan, drawing, grahamstown, istanbul, journey, mosques, poetry, ships, Uncategorized, visual arts, yorkshire and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Walkabout in Istanbul

  1. DA SLEMON says:

    Hi Diana
    Just found this. I’m marking so looking for distractions, like walking! Yes, that quote is from his book ‘The Songlines’. Read it if you haven’t. it made a great impression on me. He also talks about your natural rhythm; easier I think to access your own biorhythm and otherwise when you walk. I also try to walk in the morning; is good to make contact with the elements. Have even been running a bit at 6.30 am when I can-to go beyond my comfort zone. Then there is the meditative side of walking..How are you and family?

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