Bringing together 50 works of 21 artist-academicians from the Near East University Faculty of Fine Arts and Design, the “Fine Arts February Exhibition” was opened at the Near East University Atatürk Culture and Congress Center Exhibition Hall with the participation of Ziya Öztürkler, Minister of the Interior. The exhibition, which can be visited free of charge until April 15, brings together 50 works of art, consisting of paintings, sculptures, ceramics, stained glass and prints, with art lovers. The opening of the “Fine Arts February Exhibition” had been postponed to March 23 due to the earthquakes that occurred on February 6 in Turkey.
At the opening of the exhibition, which is the 438th exhibition of the Cyprus Museum of Modern Arts, Minister of Interior Ziya Öztürkler, Rector of Near East University Prof. Dr. Tamer Şanlıdağ and Dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts and Design Prof. Dr. Erdal Aygenç delivered speeches.
Ziya Öztürkler: “In these days when earthquake-proof structures are our main agenda, the importance of Dr. Suat Günsel State Primary Schools was once again understood.”
Speaking at the opening of the Fine Arts February Exhibition, Minister of Interior Ziya Öztürkler said that he entered the Near East University for the first time in 1995 as a student, adding that he has always been closely following the Near East University and what it has done for the country since then. Referring to the earthquake in Turkey, Minister Öztürkler said, “We lost many of our citizens and children in the earthquake. After the earthquakes, the earthquake resistance of our country’s building stock has also become our most important agenda.” Emphasizing the importance of especially school buildings being resistant to earthquakes, Öztürkler said, “The Near East Enterprises and Dr. Suat Günsel completed investments with a vision that has foreseen the future, and transferred it to our state. The importance of Dr. Suat Günsel State Primary Schools has been understood once again these days.”
Ziya Öztürkler stated that the Near East University is advancing with an innovative approach in every field and said, “All the developments made by the Near East University in the fields of health, technology, education, science and art are returning to our country in a positive and beautiful way.”
Reminding that exhibition openings were suspended after the earthquake, Ziya Öztürkler also emphasized that art feeds the human spirit. Minister Öztürkler said, “Today, we are at the 438th exhibition brought together by the Cyprus Museum of Modern Arts. Bringing all these valuable artists together and bringing all these works together with art lovers symbolizes a great vision. This vision carries our Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus forward.”
Prof. Dr. Tamer Şanlıdağ: “Art improves people’s quality of life by contributing to their mental, emotional and physical health.”
Starting his speech at the opening by mentioning the earthquake that took place in Turkey on February 6 and affected 11 cities, Near East University Rector Prof. Dr. Tamer Şanlıdağ said, “According to the latest official statements, nearly 50 thousand people lost their lives in these earthquakes, throughout which we witnessed great destruction. We lost the champion angels of our Northern Cyprus and many of our citizens. I would like to take this opportunity to express my condolences once again.”
“All natural disasters experienced cause significant psychological and sociological effects on people and societies,” saying Prof. Dr. Tamer Şanlıdağ added; “People’s mental health needs to be protected and improved after disasters. Providing a safe environment and adequate support, increasing psychological support and positive activities play an important role in this regard. Stating that art has a healing effect, Prof. Dr. Şanlıdağ said, “Art allows people to express themselves, strengthen social ties, make sense of the world they live in, and share their thoughts and feelings with others. Thus, art improves the quality of life by contributing to people’s mental, emotional and physical health. As Van Gogh said; “Art helps us find beauty even in life’s tough struggles.”
Stating that they were one heart with the motherland after the earthquake in Turkey, Prof. Dr. Şanlıdağ talked about the decisions that Near East Enterprises put into practice quickly. Prof. Dr. Tamer Şanlıdağ said, “While providing financial support of 1 million liras to AFAD, we started a blood donation campaign in our medical school hospital. In order to meet the urgent needs of our people affected by the earthquake, we started a winter clothing, tent and blanket aid campaign and delivered the clothes, tents and blankets we collected to the earthquake zone. In addition, our search and rescue team, consisting of the members of the Faculty of Sports Sciences, together with the Search and Rescue Association operating within our university, went to the region and participated in search and rescue activities in Adıyaman at the 18th hour of the earthquake. A medical aid team of 10 people, consisting of doctors and emergency aid specialists from our medical school hospital, was also directed to the earthquake zone on the same day.”
Referring to the decisions they took regarding the earthquake victims who are studying at the Near East University, Prof. Dr. Şanlıdağ said, “We have cleared the debts of our 3,200 students registered in the cities directly affected by the earthquake disaster and included in the scope of the State of Emergency, and allocated the 470-bed capacity of our dormitories located on our campus free of charge to our students who have a housing problem. In addition, we continue to provide two meals a day, morning and evening, free of charge, to our earthquake-stricken students.
Prof. Dr. Erdal Aygenç: “Art takes the dust of life, illuminates and heals its dark spots.”
Near East University Faculty of Fine Arts and Design Dean Prof. Dr. Erdal Aygenç said, “Due to the earthquake that took place in February, we postponed the exhibition we open every month until today. We have all experienced great pain and suffering. It is impossible for us to forget millions of painful people and our Team of Angels. We need total recovery. This has been stated many times from the podium, but I must repeat it again; art takes the dust of life, illuminates and heals its dark spots”.
Stating that art touches every person’s life, but not every person can be an artist, Prof. Dr. Aygenç said, “Doing some artistic actions does not turn us into artists. Art emerges as a result of effort and dedication. Talent alone is not enough for art. It is a rigorous education and systematic study that is important for successful art.”
Comparing the concept of artist in the past with the concept of today’s artist, Prof. Dr. Aygenç said, “When we look at the history of art, it can be seen that there have never been so many artists. However, the artist is indispensable, the place of his work cannot be replaced by anything. In other words, only the works he creates can tell whether a person is an artist or not.”