A Yunus Emre Exhibition

Pictured (l-r) Abdülaziz Yiğit, Director at the Yunus Emre Institute, Nazli Sahinoglu, Ndileka Mandela, Zunaida Moosa-Wadiwala, Ambassador Ayşegül Kandaş, Alex Maswanganyi, Tasneem Chilwan and Swati Mandela

24 November 2021

'The person who comes to the world
He passes and goes.
Drinks from it
It is a bridge crossing.
The ignorant do not know it.'

This poem by Yunus Emre and many of his other writings are on display at an exhibition at the Yunus Emre Institute in Johannesburg.

Opening the exhibition Ambassador Ayşegül Kandaş of Turkey said that this exhibition goes into the soul of Yunus Emre because when you see his poems written in Turkish and English, even though there is a bit of a ‘lost in translation’, one can learn about his life, his Sufi traditions and the Anatolian culture. She said that art speaks to the soul.

READ ALSO: Yunus Emre and Es’kia Mphahlele – 'The Pen is Mightier than the Sword'

This year has been declared the Year of Yunus Emre by UNESCO and many activities have been hosted at the Institute to shed light on this Turkish poet.

The current exhibition was opened on 19 November and will run for two weeks. The evening included poetry reading by Mxolisi Carrington Mayisai and Camillo Zimba, art of Yunus Emre’s poetry by Tasneem Chilwan, drawings of Turkey by Alex Maswanganyi, art and sculptures by Nazli Sahinoglu and Calligraphy by Zunaida Moosa-Wadiwala.

Tasneem Chilwan shared her process, journey and thoughts on the conceptualization of the drawings that accompanied Yunus Emre’s poetry and Zunaida Moosa-Wadiwala, who learnt calligraphy at the Institute said that she was honoured to have been chosen for the exhibition. Nazli Sahinoglu said that art is a form of love and a great journey to free the soul.

Alex Maswanganyi has never been to Turkey but has been doing black and white drawings of Turkey, especially landmarks of Istanbul, which are part of the exhibition and Ambassador Kandaş said that they owe him a visit to her beautiful country.

The poems were recited in English and the reciters received great praise for their articulate delivery in Turkish.

Everyone is invited to visit this exhibition, a great collaboration between Turkey and South Africa.

by Anisha Pemjee