Extension of the exhibition of Turkish-Armenian artist Hagop Ayvaz


The unique exhibition of the Yapi Kredi Cultural Center that houses the works and archives of artist and publisher Hagop Aivaz, titled “Collis: Hagop Ayvaz, Historian of Theater”, will continue to welcome visitors until July 25.

The exhibition, set up in cooperation with the Turkish Theater Foundation and Hrant Dink Foundation, launched on December 15 and was scheduled to remain open until February 21. But due to the great interest of visitors, the gallery will expand its displays to nearly 600 theatrical and manuscript pieces in Ottoman, Armenian and Turkish, around 500 periodicals and brochures and around 12,000 photographs, posters, cartoons, drawings, and other visual pieces.

The exhibition, named after the magazine Aivaz Koles and focused on Armenian art and culture, also displays 1,104 issues of the magazine and private pieces of Aivaz’s personal possessions and archives.

Actors in the play
Actors in the play “Pisa” for Osmanli Theater Company. (Courtesy of Yapı Kredi Culture Arts)

The exhibition consists of three sections, the first of which focuses on theater production in the Armenian language in Istanbul during the period of Aivaz’s career.

The second section centers on the magazine Kulis and its cultural influence, while the final section includes many artists, societies, plays, and places that were essential to Ottoman and Turkish theater.

Ayvaz was born in 1911 and made his debut on stage in 1928 as an extra in the play at the Narlikapi Twilight Theater when he was only 17 years old. His first major role was in the play “The Trail of the Serpent” which was shown at Beyoğlu Yenişehir Garden Theater in 1930.

Aivaz went on to become a unique theater actor, participating in several plays, while also publishing periodicals, the most important of which is Kulis, which won many awards throughout its five-decade run. Later in his career, he also started directing.

Ayvaz was an outstanding artist, writer, and thinker. Received the Press Service Award for the year 1997 from the Turkish Writers Union and the Honorary Award for the year 2005 from the Theater Critics Association of Turkey. He died on September 29, 2006 and was buried in the Armenian cemetery of Sisli.

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