Society of Independent Painters and Sculptors By Shaw, Wendy
Coming together for the first time with an exhibition in 1928 at the new Ankara Ethnographic Museum and establishing their name in 1929, the Society of Independent Painters and Sculptors was the first long-standing organization of artists working in the Republic of Turkey. Although their name, based on the French La Societe des Artistes Independents, indicated an oppositional stance to the dominant “academic” mode of painting in Turkey characterized in the work of the 1914 generation, the group advocated no unified political or aesthetic stance. Founding members included Refik Fazıl (Epikman; 1902–1974), Cevat Hamit (Dereli; 1900–1989), Şeref Kamil (Akdik; 1899–1972), Mahmud Celalledin (Cuda; 1904–1987), Nurullah Cemal (Berk; 1906–1982), Ali Avni (Çelebi; 1904–1993), Ahmet Zeki (Kocamemi; 1900–1959), Muhittin Sebati (1901–1932), the sculptor Ratip Aşir (Acudoğlu) and the decorator Fahrettin (Arkunlar). Hale Asaf (1905–1938) was the only female participant. The group had four exhibitions before disbanding in 1932. Between 1936 and 1942, its members also organized exhibits around the country in conjunction with the Homeland Tours program. In 1942, members of the group established the Society of Turkish Painters and Sculptors, and in 1950, the Painter’s Union. Like the Independents, the objective of these groups was mutual aid.