ARZU OZKAL TELHAN
Culture inscribes its mark in bold letters affirming “human” on the surface of the body at the first moment of “being.” After being entitled as “human,” one would notice the vocabulary to define “human” is limited only to dichotomies: male/female, good/bad, pretty/ugly, us/other…
I don’t think I ever sought for a definition of my human being until I left my native country -Turkey- four years ago. I had never thought that language, which holds the connection between mind and object, introduces the individual to the collective voice and vocabulary, fastens the codified norms of the society, and imposes them on the individual. I believe the major advantage of being away from my native country is to provide emancipation, or a distance, from my previous life and indoctrinated values. This emancipation is helping me to become conscious of the borders and limits that I was setting into my life, in addition to the ones that were being set for me by my social environment. I have realized that this freeing was also a temporary one and ended as soon as I had to attend a western identity, which I have been introduced by my present milieu.
My practice can be grouped under the interpretation of body and its relationship to its environment. I make attempts to emancipate the body from social and cultural norms and try to suggest ways to distance one from the limits imposed on the society by totalitarian establishments. I believe that even temporary emancipations can help us be aware of the limits forced on us by the regimes of society. I appear in unfamiliar places where supposedly “I do not belong” according to the tradition, laws, or patriarchal value systems.
Arzu Ozkal Telhan is a Turkish born media artist and designer. She received her BFA in graphic design from Bilkent University, and her MFA from Department of Visual Studies at University at Buffalo, SUNY.
Ozkal Telhan has exhibited internationally at various festivals and venues including Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, CEPA Gallery, University at Buffalo Art Galleries, British Council Art Gallery in Ankara, Galeria Zero, International Video Art Festival in Public Spaces of Russia, Buffalo Infringement Festival, Extrapolations, Cologne Online Film Festival.
Upcoming exhibitions include a solo show in Istanbul at The Akbank Center for Culture and the Arts.
She is the recipient of various awards including a teaching assistantship and academic scholarship from Department of Visual Studies at University at Buffalo, a first prize at a short film scenario competition held by EGE Forests Foundation and a first prize for her stamp design on children rights distributed by Turkish Postal Service.
She has given lectures at the Department of Visual Studies at University at Buffalo, the Department of Communications and the Department of Media Study at the Canisius College.
Arzu Ozkal Telhan has delivered papers on subjects related to body and technology in relation to public space.