A new folk arts exhibition at the Castellani Art Museum of Niagara University features paintings in miniature and on a grand scale, depicting scenes from Istanbul in the time of the Ottoman Empire. "Haydar Hatemi: The Istanbul Painter" is on display through May 27.
Iranian-born artist Haydar Hatemi was trained in classical Persian miniature painting and gilded illumination in his home country. In 1983, he immigrated to Turkey where he was inspired by the cosmopolitanism and rich history of Istanbul. Taking the city as his subject, Hatemi creates artworks imagining Ottoman life and landscapes.
"Istanbul is for me a very special city," he explains. "In Turkey, they know me as the 'Istanbul painter.'"
Hatemi believes the Ottoman Empire, and its past of peaceful coexistence continues to enchant the countries of the Middle East. For more than a decade, Hatemi has filled the royal palace of Prince Al-Thani, the crown prince of Qatar, with commissioned works picturing the Ottoman capital in lavish detail. In addition to oil paintings and watercolors illustrating people and places from 18th century Istanbul, this exhibition features a series of painted tables and ostrich eggs depicting portraits of the Ottoman sultans as well as scenes of daily life in the palace and in the city.
A number of programs are planned in conjunction with the exhibition:
•Thursday, Feb. 2, from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.: Dr. John Voll will speak on "Late Ottoman Istanbul: The Cosmopolitan Capital." Voll is a professor of Islamic history and associate director of the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University. This lecture is presented by the Castellani Art Museum and Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies Program of Niagara University.
•Sunday, March 18, from 2 to 4 p.m.: The museum has planned an opening reception for the exhibition with traditional food and music provided by the Turkish Cultural Center of Buffalo.
·Sunday, April 29, from 2 to 4 p.m.: The museum is hosting a "Whirling Dervish" demonstration and recitation of poetry written by Mevlana Rumi.
The exhibition programming for "Haydar Hatemi: The Istanbul Painter" is made possible with funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, celebrating 50 years of building strong, creative communities in New York state's 62 counties. The exhibition is sponsored, in part, by the Turkish Cultural Center of Buffalo. Special thanks to the Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies Program of Niagara University.
The Castellani Art Museum of Niagara University is open Tuesday through Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, from 1 to 5 p.m. For more information about this exhibition, contact Carrie Hertz, curator of folk arts, at 716-286-8290.