İbretnüma (Exemplary)

video animation

Duration: 27'30"

year: 2009

The devastatingly beautiful daughter of a poor family in the southeastern part of Turkey is the main character in the animated video work Exemplary (2009). The storyline echoes ancient folk tales, and the narrative style is akin to One Thousand and One Nights, but addresses the contemporary context of women in Turkish society, imbued with tensions that oscillate between secular values and the emergent sensitivities of moral conservatives and institutionalised religion. Through the life of the main protagonist the narrative problematises the oppressiveness of the institutions of marriage and family, the political and religious instrumentalisation of the female body and the implementation of the notion of female beauty as a topos of orientalisation and consumerist exploitation. The video uses abundant visual vocabulary that resembles classical Ottoman miniature illuminations and calligraphy, many of them adapted from their original forms and combined with collaged fragments.