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Major International Art Project to Bring Dialogue Between the UK and Turkey
British artist Mark Wallinger in front of the Orient Express at Victoria Sation in London. EPA/ANDY RAIN.

LONDON.- Unveiled to the public on the 20th – 24th of October, the project comes at a crucial time for debates about Turkey’s accession to the EU and for relations between the UK and Turkey, exemplified by Prime Minister David Cameron’s trip to the country last month.

The British Council is uniquely placed to deliver the My City project, given its long-standing presence in Turkey and its focus on international cultural relations.

My City brings five prominent artists from Europe to create new artworks across Turkey that explore and respond to the cultural diversity of the country.

The project includes artists from five countries: Austria, Finland, Germany, Poland and the UK. The five artists who have created a unique new piece of public art are:

• Clemens von Wedemeyer, Germany, in the city of Mardin
• Mark Wallinger, UK, in the city of Canakkale
• Joanna Rajkowska, Poland, in the city of Konya
• Minna Henriksson, Finland, in the city of Trabzon
• Andreas Fogorasi, Austria, in the city of Istanbul

At the same time, several leading artists from Turkey are being hosted on residencies by leading European contemporary arts centres. The creative exchange, facilitated by My City, will be a chance to forge a deeper cultural understanding between Turkey and Europe as part of the European Commission’s Cultural Bridges programme.

Across Europe even governments reticent about Turkey’s accession to the EU acknowledge that relations with this country are of critical importance.

“The focus of My City on contemporary art and public space generates genuine debate about cultural difference in a way that a more overtly political approach would not,” explains David Codling, British Council My City Director, “Discussions about Turkey’s joining the EU are intense and can be fraught but without a cultural dimension they lack depth. The arts, in this instance, provide a forum for debate within and between countries. My City’s theme of art and public space is very apt for the exploration of cultural differences.”

Participating artists from Turkey are taking up residencies in six cities across the EU. Each will immerse themselves in the cultural life of their host countries, reciprocating by sharing their own culture and artistic practice, with the aim of challenging European assumptions and stereotypes about Turkey. (See notes to editors for artists’ details).

My City was conceived by the British Council together with Turkish partners Anadolu Kültür and Platform Garanti Contemporary Art Centre.

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