The exhibition “Ottoman Calligraphy from the Sakip Sabancı Museum” containing selected works from the Ottoman Calligraphy Collection of Sabancı University’s Sakip Sabancı Museum (SSM) has been opened today at the Real Alcázar of Seville. The press conference held at the opening was attended by Güler Sabancı, Sabancı Holding Chairperson and SSM CEO; Ender Arat, Ambassador of Turkey in Madrid; Rosa Torres Ruiz, Councillor for Culture, Regional Council of Andalusia; and Nazan Ölçer, Director of SSM.  The exhibition called “Ottoman Calligraphy Collection from Sakip Sabancı Museum” is implemented under the sponsorship of Sabancı Holding Company and El Legado Andalusí.
Guler Sabancı, Sabancı Holding Chairperson and SSM CEO, said in her speech at the press conference: “The Sakip Sabancı Museum is a unit affiliated to the Sabancı University.  Before the foundation of the Museum, the Ottoman Calligraphy Collection had been exhibited at the major museums worldwide.  The Collection visited Spain for the first time in year 2002, after the foundation of the Museum.  The second stop of our Collection after Madrid has been Seville.  It is a great source of pride for us that it is going to be exhibited at the Real Alcázar.  Our Calligraphy Collection is our cultural heritage for which we feel ourselves responsible, and wish to pass on to the next generations.  In accordance with the will of Late Sakip Sabancı, we want to add new pieces to our Collection, and make it the best private collection in the world.  This Collection has visited various art centres worldwide, yet it will best pertain to this place.  As Seville had lived for many years nested with the Islamic art, I think she will appreciate it very well.”
Rosa Torres Ruiz, Councillor for Culture, Regional Council of Andalusia, said: “The Real Alcázar of Seville bears many characteristics of both Christian and Arab cultures.  It is a building presenting the Eastern and the Western Arts in a self-specific fashion.  No other building but the Real Alcázar can reflect the cultural serenity this skilfully.  This Exhibition will be an excellent indicator of this heritage.  The Ottoman Calligraphy is a good example of the Islamic Art presented in writing.  This Exhibition helps us see the level achieved by the Ottoman Masters of Calligraphy.  Besides, I thank the Sabancı Family for their munificence.  Andalusia is a place where the Islamic and Western worlds had lived together for 800 years.  The Andalusians are proud of being a part of the intercultural and interreligious companionship.”
And Nazan Ölçer, Director of SSM, made the following statement: “Real Alcázar of Seville is a lucky stop of the Sakip Sabancı Calligraphy Collection.  The Exhibition here has become one of the most beautiful we have ever organised so far.  The splendour of the Real Alcázar has sure contributed to this achievement.  We have selected the best pieces of our Collection for this Exhibition.”
Having been established in year 2002, and exhibited comprehensively for the first time at the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando in Madrid, the Sakip Sabancı Museum’s Calligraphy Collection containing samples from the Ottoman calligraphers’ works created during a time span of 500 years will now meet with the Spanish art lovers at the Real Alcázar Palace in Seville.  With this Exhibition consisting of 96 works from Ottoman calligraphers of late 15th Century and early 20th, the riches of the Ottoman calligraphy will be presented to the appreciation of the Spaniards.  At the exhibition, works of many calligraphers such as, with Sheikh Hamdullah, the so-called founder of the Ottoman calligraphy, being above all, Shahzadah Korkut, Ahmed Karahisari, Dervish Ali, Hafiz Osman, Seyyid Abdullah of Yedikule, Mustafa Rakim, Kazasker Mustafa Izzet, and Sami Effendi will be on display.  The exhibition also hosts tools used by the calligraphers.
The Exhibition “Ottoman Calligraphy from the Sabancı University Sakip Sabancı Museum (SSM)” will remain open from 4 April through 15 June 2008.
About the Exhibition...
·         The majority of the 96 works containing calligraphy samples are Korans and prayer books.
·         The second major group includes meshk (practice) and calligraphy albums.
·         The third group consists of the tablets inscribed in Istanbul in large-size letters for hanging on walls in the 19th century where the European influence gradually became pervasive.  The splendid works reflecting the Western influence in a different way, by adorning the spaces like a painting does, make their marks in the late Ottoman calligraphy.
·         The exhibition also contains samples of the late Ottoman paintings/drawings, in order to display the usage of the celi writings on monuments.
·         The last group of works in the exhibition consists of the handwritten official documents written with divani writings, bearing the sultans’ signature (tugra), which documents occupy a major position in the Ottoman calligraphy.  Reflecting the administrative system of the state, and attracting attention with the artistic quality of the sultans’ signatures they bear and, with their letterings, these documents are exhibited in a chronological order.