Ahmet Polat Dark Moon: Tales of the Afro-Turkish Diaspora

In Dark Moon, Ahmet Polat sheds light on the lives of Afro-Turks, many of whom came to work in the open fields of Izmir, located in the West of Turkey. Izmir was the main destination for Afro-Turks, former slaves of the Ottoman Empire who later became agricultural workers during the 19th century. Most citizens living in Turkey today remain unaware of this past and Izmir’s Afro-Turkish heritage.   

About the exhibition

Polat has actively worked with the Africans' Culture and Solidarity Society in Izmir towards communicating the community’s personal stories to both Turkish and international audiences through archival research, pop-up photography studios, and exhibitions.

The selection of photographs presented for Galerie Mercatorplein was made by a team of young curators from West Amsterdam. Working together with Foam and Polat, Dilara Uysal, Yasemin Demirözcan, Jale Stravers, Tom Allsop, Shanna de Ruiter, Arzu Yıldız, Khadija Baarre, Mohamed Badaou and Mary Montesdeoca show us the result of their Dark Moon archive exploration. Access their stories through QR codes on site.

Durmuš Ali Delibas in Izmir Dark Moon Tales of the Afro-Turkish Diaspora, 2005-2022 © Ahmet Polat.

Two-day festival Dark Moon on 10 and 11 June

Ahmet Sezer being photographed by his son Ahmet, Dark Moon Tales of the Afro-Turkish Diaspora, 2005-2022 © Ahmet Polat.

Dive deeper into the exhibition  by Ahmet Polat during our two-day festival on 10 and 11 June. Through a series of fun and inspiring events, we will learn more about the Afro-Turkish diaspora and Turkey's plural heritage.

On 10 June, we will explore the art of conversation through the collective practice of drinking and reading Turkish coffee. On 11 June, we will organise a performance, talk and collective walk to Galerie Mercatorplein.

Galerie Mercatorplein

Foam has been working with the (Nieuw-) West City District for years to present exhibitions in Mercatorplein's public space. Foam hopes to contribute to the district's goal of making Mercatorplein the living hub of De Baarsjes neighbourhood by sharing the beauty and depth of photography with a wider audience.   

Galerie Mercatorplein: Johny Pitts - Afropean: Travels in Black Europe, 2020 © Foam. Photo: Christian van der Kooy.

Part of Kısmet

Dark Moon is part of Kısmet, a multi-year project organised by Studio Polat and Foam with a focus on Turkish visual culture through research, outreach, and exhibitions. Kısmet aims to visualise what it means to be Turkish. How do young Dutch-Turkish image-makers and that same generation of image-makers in Turkey give shape to the worlds they live in. Taking as a starting point a shared heritage, Kısmet explores the complex and rich perspectives of these emerging talents.  

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Cemre Yeşil - Double Portrait, 2022 © Foam. Photo: Maarten Nauw.

For more information or press requests, please see here or contact our press office at pressoffice@foam.org.

Galerie Mercatorplein is made possible by Gemeente Amsterdam, Stadsdeel West.

Foam is supported by the VriendenLoterij, Foam Members, De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek, the VandenEnde Foundation and the Gemeente Amsterdam.

Galerie Mercatorplein: Ahmet Polat – Dark Moon: Tales of the Afro-Turkish Diaspora, 2022 © Foam. Photo: Maarten Nauw

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Ahmet Polat Dark Moon: Tales of the Afro-Turkish Diaspora