Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Outsider Art from Sirince

In April 2013 I visited the Aegean town of Şirince. This village is famous in Turkey for managing to preserve traces of its "small town" charm, left by the Anatolian Greeks who were deported from the country in the 1920s.

The town owed no small part of this beauty to the preservation efforts of Mr. Sevan Nisanyan, who established an internationally well-known hotel in Sirince; an oasis of calm and beauty in a rapidly devolving a cul-de-sac of banality, ugliness and hubris.

This post, however, is not about the sights and beauties of Şirince, (there are thousands of tourist snapshots online) but rather, some details in it that attracted my interest. Wandering in Sirince's streets, I saw two extraordinary examples of outsider art.

The first was this shattered relief of a dragon or griffin-like creature, perhaps a family crest, that was perched atop the doorway of an old Greek mansion.

The second was far more interesting. In the narrow back alleys of the town, I saw this… retarded-looking face, staring from a wall.

It was covered with layers of paint and I could not figure if it was a relic from the Greek past of
the town, or something more recent, perhaps made by children or a local artist. Its dumpy face reminded me of the infamously "restored" fresco of Christ in Borja, Spain.

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