Thursday, July 17, 2008

Ankara Ethnography and Sculpture/Portrait Museums

Last Saturday, I decided to venture out on my own to find two museums that were supposed to me enjoyable near the border of Kizilay and Ulus (new and old Ankara respectfully). I left my dorm and took the dolmus to Kizilay and decided to walk the half a mile to the museums. Well that was at 10am. Thinking that I could get there by 10:30, I knew I would have plenty of time for when the museums closed at 12:30, to see one of them, and see the other after lunch. Well, I was wrong, I didn't get to the museums until 12:45. That's because I couldn't find the museums because none of the streets in Ankara are marked, and Ankara is a very 3-d city. By that I mean, there are lots of streets that have been dug out of hills with other streets crossing over head that look like train tracks. So, needless to say, it took me a while to find them.

When I got there, I found out both museums open at 1:30 instead of one opening at 1 and the other opening at 1:30. I ended up sitting in front of the museums which gave me a gorgeous view of Western Ankara. I could see Atakule (Ankara's version of the space needle),

Ataturk's Mausaleum,

and Ulus.

So at 1:30, I went inside the Ethnography Museum. First off, both museum buildings are from the Ottoman era. They have gorgeous stone work on the outside and equally gorgeous plaster and wood work on the inside. My guide book had noted that the automatic lighting would drive me mad. Well, it was right. Each room has a motion sensor for the main lighting, but each display case has its own motion sensor for its internal lighting. So, if you don't sway in front of a display case, the light will go off. This got old really fast. Other than that, this museum was interesting. It mostly described the different technical arts in Turkish history: Rug making, metal work, caligraphy, coffee making, wood working, tile making, and a few others.

I think most interesting part of the museum was the main hall. On the walls, were pictures of Ataturk's funeral precession to his mausoleum. In American history, I think the only person that remotely comes close to the respect and awe that the Turkish people have for him would be George Washington. If you would like to know more about Kemal Ataturk, you should look him up on Wikipedia. In the center, is a memorial to him. In fact, in front there is a large statue of him riding one of his horses.

The painting and sculpture museum was lots of fun. I somehow got in for free. The security guard at the door was the same one that I tried talking to at the gate. She led me inside and pointed upstairs. There was a group of school children here as well. They milled about and snapped photos with their cell phones. It was a very normal museum as far as art goes. The organization was a little lacking as well as signage but it wasn't too big of a deal. One room in this museum was left how it was when these museum buildings were originally built. The detailing around the room is quite amazing. The room was filled with a few dining room sets as well as a couch and chairs. It was probably the best display from both museums.

In reference to what I was saying about the rooms earlier, each room was sheetrocked and waiting with white paint to mimic a lot of other museums. I wish they had left the rooms alone, and just hung the paintings on the wood paneled walls that probably still exist behind the sheetrock. There was one painting in particular within this museum that really caught my attention. It is of three women with two children. It is a simple painting without much detail, but the lighting and warmth of the scene is really great. I don't particularly have "sophisticated" taste in art, so I normally just go with what I like or moves me.

1 comment:

carol said...

yup...snob art is about feeling superior...I just read some cranky critic in the SF Chron slamming Chihouly's glass work. Not upper crusty enough for him, apparently. But I think it is beautiful and colorful and ...yes, ooooo shiny too.