Felekşan Onar

What draws you to the material you work with?

My initial attraction to glass as a material is due to it physical qualities: being translucent, the optical effects, the depth in the colours, being fragile yet so strong. However what kept me dedicated to glass is the complexity of working with glass and how it matches or even complements my character and challenges me.

What themes do you pursue in your work, and why have you chosen the processes that you use in your work?

Glass is the way I communicate. Through glass, I share my thoughts on past and present social issues, reflect on my heritage and even convey anxieties and expectations of future. Social and political topics come out regularly in my work as well as the history of eastern Mediterranean where live.

If you weren’t working in this field, what career would you choose?

I think ı would have been a great diplomat in foreign relations but not for our 21st century world:) I enjoy connecting people and cultures, creating win/win solutions.. But then again I see myself as a lawyer as I have a very rational mind or as an architect as I love thinking in three dimensions 

What is your dream project?

I do have a dream project in mind and hoping to get to it in 2019/20. ‘Perched, currently displayed at V&A, is a moving display of 99 mould-blown glass swallows with trimmed wings representing my artistic response to the millions of displaced Syrians who have fled their war-torn home for Turkey. The swallows’ form was inspired by Birds Without Wings, a historical novel by Louis de Bernières (2004). Set during the wars between Greece and Western Turkey in the early 20th century and tells the story of families caught up in mass migrations as the Ottoman Empire broke up.. 41 of these swallows have been presented in the Islamic Art Galleries of V&A since June 16th 2018 and will continue to show there through April 22nd 2019. Their initial presentation was in the Aleppo Room of Pergamon Museum earlier in 2018. I would like them to be shown in yet another major museum or public space in North America and afterwards my dream is  to organise an auction to raise funds for an organisation like UNHCR for the refugees as they finally find their permanent homes.

What’s something about you that most people don’t know?

Maybe the fact that I love animals. At home we have six dogs and 2 are rescue dogs and a parrot and we frequently travel to Africa. In fact, we will be traveling to Botswana and Zambia this spring. My collection ‘ Animal Kingdom’ stems out of such trips to Africa.

Why are you a member of GAS?

It is a great international community to be part of!

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