Rising Star: Artist Burcin Gokcen

Burcin Gokcen is an artist based in Istanbul. She got her bachelor's degree from the Cinema-TV department of the Faculty of Communication Sciences at Marmara University, and She received her Master's in Communication and Promotion.

Journalist Ali Cinar interviewed Artist Gokcen for Turk of America magazine.Gokcin told Cinar that  " Studying communication was something I set my mind on as a child. I was lucky: I had made the right decision at the right time. I think communication is excellent in every area of life, regardless of your profession."

Interview Questions: 

-When did you start painting? Where were your exhibitions held?

It is interesting that I can't remember a day of my childhood I didn't spend painting. I didn't need to have a canvas in front of me. Curtains, tables, walls, chairs, windows, and important books from my parents: Everywhere and everything was a place for me to paint. My family has been my biggest supporter despite my limitless imagination and misbehavior.

I can't remember any painting contest that I didn't attend in my middle and high school days. Getting top ranks and prizes in competitions and having an American firm (Cargill) add me to its 2001 calendar significantly influenced my motivation.

I have never received any training in painting because all my life, I have acted thinking that my real job has always been painting. So I chose communication, worked on two disciplines simultaneously, and took advantage of that.

The pandemic was also a productive period for me. When corporate life slowed, I spent more time on canvases. I attended four group exhibitions in Istanbul. I continued painting walls for places. I took time for my commissions.

-How would you describe your style? What type of paintings do you do? What are your sources of inspiration?

I don't particularly appreciate limiting myself to just one style. However, symbolism and surrealism are the trends I find very close to myself. Sea creatures, women, nature, music, dreams, and chaos are the topics from which I get inspiration. I cannot give up using colors. The most striking elements in my paintings are these colors.

I can describe it as a little distant but mischievous, like a singular but pluralist, colorful but sometimes cold. I wrote my undergraduate thesis on David Lynch and film noir. Lynch doesn't like talking about his movies; the audience figures them out or not. I let my works into the hands of the audience, too. My paintings take the form they desire, the way they wish to understand and feel. It becomes that and belongs to them from that point on.

-What should be done to introduce Turkish art abroad in a better way?

There are so many undiscovered talented people in Türkiye. These talents should be included while creating different collections. These people should be reached. It is essential to provide platforms to new artists besides those we all know who hold exhibitions abroad regularly. I think galleries should give more thoughts to this issue.

 -What are your future plans?

I think planning isn't my thing. I am on a journey; I live, create, and take tremendous pleasure in that. There is a quote I like by Picasso that I find relatable. It says, 'You can never stop searching; because you will never find it.' I know I will never give up painting. The rest is a mystery. I have this endless curiosity inside of me, and I am waiting.

-Any final thoughts you would like to add?

Each discipline of art is a different amusement park. Creators and their works should be supported, not feared. We must respect every story.

Her Instagram account: https://www.instagram.com/artbyburcindian/?hl=en

Ali Çelik was voted the "Top Young Soccer Player" in New Jersey

Ali Çelik was voted the top soccer player in the senior boys' category in the state of New Jersey by NJ.com, a news website. 17-year-old Ali Çelik 

plays for the teams Lyndhurst and Ironbound SC Super Eagles. He has six goals and seven assists in the North Jersey Interscholastic Conference National Division in 2022–2023. 

Ali Çelik received training in Clifton Stallions Soccer Academy for five years.

A devoted Fenerbahçe fan, Ali wants to wear the yellow and blue jersey in the future. In the past, young Turkish athlete Ali Can Çelik, living in New Jersey, was ranked among the 'state's top 100 young soccer players.' The state of New Jersey is also known for producing many young soccer players to play for the U.S. National Soccer Team.


Leyla Öztürk's Book is Available at Kindergartens in Florida

Leyla Ozturk said that her objective is to promote her books nationwide in the United States.”I am working with some professional experts who help me to penetrate the school market in Washington,DC,Texas and New York” she added. She said that it would be good PR project for Turkey that would help to increase the Turkish-American business trade.

After her Science and Technology education at Akdeniz University, she received training in child education and Montessori practices at New York University in  United States. She started her career as assistant at the International Montessori Foundation, after doing her internship at the Hamilton Montesori School in New Jersey. She returned to Istanbul in 2017 and founded the Private Atakent Pink Tower Kindergarten in Istanbul.

We Lost a Great Friend to the Turkish People: Brent Kennedy

There are two questions about which everybody is curious.

When was the first time Turks migrated to the US, and how many Turks are living there now?

There have been numerous stories written, especially on the whereabouts of this migration. However scarce in number, though, we have encountered Americans who claim to be of Turkic origin. The Melungeons are one such group.

Brent Kennedy, the honorary leader of the Melungeon people, who believe that they are the descendants of the Ottoman Levantines, unveiled that he had a suspicion after doctors told him that he had Familial Mediterranean Fever, which is not endemic to the Americas;  he discovered that he was of Turkic ancestry after a DNA test. 

According to several history professors, the ancestry of the Melungeon community, which claims to have a population of approximately two million people in the US, extends back to around ten thousand Levantine seamen from the Ottoman navy who were taken captive during the 1571 Battle of Lepanto. Some of these shipmen were used as galley slaves by the Spanish and the English, and then they were left to their own fate in America. In fact, it is even claimed that Abraham Lincoln and Elvis Presley may be from Melungeon lineage as well.

Melungeons who initially tried to survive by settling on the shores of Virginia withdrew toward the Appalachian Mountains near present-day Tennessee due to cultural differences with the residents of the region and have mixed in with the native tribes in that region whose language belonged to the Athabascan family.

Kennedy, the honorary leader of the Melungeons, reported that their DNA closely matched that of Anatolian Turks, wrote two books to strengthen the bonds between the two nations during his life, and developed close relations with the Turkish people living in the US. Also, Wise in Virginia, where Kennedy lived, and Cesme in Turkey, became sister towns.

It was announced that Prof. Brent Kennedy, the leader of the Melungeon community believed to be the descendant of Ottoman Levantine soldiers and the director of the UVA-Wise college in Virginia, passed away due to his pre-existing health conditions.

Turk of America published a special issue regarding Melungeons and it was recognized by Melungeon and Turkish-American Communities.

Rest in Peace!

The Short Film by a Turkish student in the U.S. is shown at the Cannes Film Festival.

The short documentary film by the Turkish student named Onay who lives in New York will be shown at the Cannes Film Festival.

Nehir Onay, who is receiving a master's degree education on documentaries in New York, made statements to an Anatolian Agency reporter about the short documentary. 

Onay said that his project titled "Sur Les Pointes" which is about a professional ballet institution and the choreography at that institution, was nominated for the category of best short documentary film in Cannes, and added that her short film also received the second best documentary film award at a film festival organized in New York.

Onay indicated that she was not only the director but also the producer of the project from its development to its distribution.

Onay also stated that the short film festival, which will be held online this year due to the coronavirus, will premiere on September 13th. The projections will end on September 21st. She added that the viewers who purchase tickets for the films that will be streamed online will also have the right to vote for the films.

Turkish Forward Jumps to Cleveland Cavs

Turkish basketball forward Cedi Osman announced on Wednesday that he is leaving Anadolu Efes to join the roster of NBA heavyweights the Cleveland Cavaliers. Speaking to Turkish sports channel NTVSpor, Macedonian-born Osman, 22, said that he was thrilled to be able to play alongside some of the NBA’s hottest stars.

New Haven, Mosque Leaders Work to Resolve Zoning Dispute that Stalled Construction

NEW HAVEN >> A new engineering report is paving the way for resolution of a partially completed mosque, even as another cease and desist order and then a notice to vacate adds to the large city file on the long-delayed project. The problem remains the height of the two minarets on the mosque at 531 Middletown Ave., which exceed what was approved by the Board of Zoning Appeals 19 months ago.

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