Sepharad Exhibition


531 years of solitude, wisdom, perseverance, and heritage underpin the history behind these multicultural artworks.

Throughout the centuries, Spaniards have had a long and complex impact around the globe. History provides us a means with which to read the past, and understand the changes taking place today.

During 1490-92, Sultan Bayezid II of the Ottoman Empire welcomed Sephardic Jews who had to flee from Spain due to the inquisition and find refuge within the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman Empire was known for embracing many different nationalities and cultures. For this compassionate gesture of receiving thousands of Sepharads, the generosity of the Ottoman Empire and Republic of Türkiye can never be forgotten. In spite of there being many differences with all the different cultures within the Ottoman Empire, there was peaceful harmony and coexistence on these soils for over 531 years and Sepharads have been very well integrated within the Turkish culture without forgetting their Spanish roots and this combination is what fuelled Turkish Sephardic Arts and Culture.

Sepharad ‘‘Traces of a Multicultural Heritage” collective art exhibition, presents a selection of more than 70 artworks from 30 Turkish Sephardic artists who originate from Istanbul. All cities have their spirits, however Istanbul and Frankfurt are two cities that possess a spirit that is both enchanting and eternal. It has not only become part of the common heritage of humanity, but also engendered a spirit of serenity and simplicity. Istanbul is one of the greatest cities in the world, at the crossroads of civilisations. Located between east and west, a naturally captivating city, it has a history spanning over 8,500 years. Frankfurt is the largest city in the German state of Hesse and the fifth-largest city in Germany. Frankfurt is a global hub for commerce, culture, education, tourism and transportation, and rated as an “alpha world city” according to the Globalization and World Cities Research Network (GaWC). Frankfurt and Istanbul both share the common denominators of culture, art, and Jewish history.

The exhibition aims to be a cultural bridge between these two cities and highlight the history of Sephardic Art. The exhibition will take place in Frankfurt, at one of the most historical art venues, the Schwanenhalle. The mix between the rich culture of Istanbul and Sephardic heritage is the inspiration behind all the artworks. The sephardic artists have chosen to display selected artworks that stem from history, popular culture, alternative forms and traditional arts. The intention of the exhibition is to show the cultural and social conditions from different views and perspectives, with a variety of colours present in the paintings, photographs, ceramics, and reliefs.

As the curator of this exhibition, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the President of Yunus Emre Institute Prof Dr Seref Ates, alongside the Consul General of Türkiye Erdem Tuncer, the Culture and Project Director of YEE Babur Turna, the Director of YEE Berlin Feyzullah Bahci for their generous encouragement and valuable contribution. I would also like to give many thanks to Mrs. Nisya Işman Allovi, the Director of the Museum of Turkish Jews, who has collaborated with us since the early days with a helpful hand alongside Silvio Ovadia, President of the Quincentennial Foundation in Istanbul. I would also like to dearly express my thanks to Mirjam Wenzel, Director of the Jewish Museum in Frankfurt, and my sincere thanks to the Director of Cervantes Institute Dr Ferran Ferrando for their valuable collaboration. Last but not least, I would like to dearly thank the Frankfurt Vice Consul of Türkiye Busra Sari , and Yunus Emre Bilici for their valuable contributions from the YEE in Ankara, alongside Dr. Yilmaz Bulut, Yakup Kurt, Beyza Kulunk from Yunus Emre Enstitüsü Cologne and all the Sephardic Artists for their valuable contributions and support, thus making this magnificent exhibition possible.

On behalf of the Sephardic Artists, I am proud to realize this multicultural exhibition with the valuable Yunus Emre Institute, which aims to increase awareness of Turkish culture, history and art through cultural diplomacy and their philosophy to “build on universal human values”. It’s an honour and a privilege for me and Sephardic artists to represent the rich cultural heritage and identity of Sepharads via such symbolic organizations.

Terry Katalan
Artist & Curator of the Exhibition



Habib Gerez

Habib Gerez was born in 1926 in Ortaköy, Istanbul (1926-2022). He has had 142 personal exhibits of his works, 33 of them being overseas. He has won 63 awards from contests he has entered in the painting and poetry branches.

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İzzet Keribar

Born in 1936 in İstanbul, İzzet Keribar became interested in photography at an early age. In 1957 he spent a year in Korea, where he was doing his military service, taking photographs and developing his technique and approach.

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Dalya Anter Baruh

Since 1990, Dalya has worked in her own atelier creating unique vessel forms inspired by natural elements such as plants and landscapes. She is employing primitive methods such as using engobes, burnishing and terra sigillata, which are significantly important to Sephardic ceramic art.

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Elda Fresko

Elda Fresko was born on July 26, 1969 in Istanbul, Turkey. In 1988 she took stylistic and charcoal drawing lessons. While there she learned to be one with art and discover her free spirit.

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Esti Saul

The artist born in İstanbul in 1940-2022, Esti Saul has been interested in drawing since her primary school years. At the Lycee Notre Dame De Sion she was encouraged by her teachers to improve her drawing skills.

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Eti Koen

In 1990 Eti Koen attended Linda Robinson’s classical patchwork classes at the Turkish-American University Association.

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Art is my destiny

I am a tired warrior
Since my youth
Art is my destiny
I am kneaded with art
I fell deeply in love
As I am gyved
Like a colourful caterpillar
In its silk cocoon
Waiting to become a butterfly and fly
As I have said
I am a slave for art
And I wish it for all my friends

Habib Gerez

Honorary Contemporary Artist


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