50 х 70
acrylic on canvas
The first day I arrived at the Helikon Art Center was the holiday of Kurban Bayram, the celebration at the end of the month Ramadan. On this day the cows are sacrificed according to Islamic rules and traditions. People cut the throat of a cow above the hole in the ground, so the blood is drained. The significance relates to the occasion in the Quran when Abraham was ready to sacrifice his son on the command of God. God interrupted the act and Abraham used a sheep instead, however, the celebration occurs to show the dedication of Abraham and his acknowledgment that God is everything.
The screams of cows from everywhere astonished me, and I felt disquiet. And I naturally wanted to express in the painting my attitude to the sacrifice of a cow. In the painting, I employed the traditional symbols from Anatolian carpets.
The people in the painting are looking at the cow from the bottom. They are sacrificing the cow, as if saying to the God “Dear God, please, do not take away any of us randomly, but take the life of this cow instead.” Between the people and the cow, there is a symbol of a wolf. People look at the cow as fierce predators, willing to kill her.
The symbol on the cow means motherhood, fertility, reproduction, and abundance. This is the motif of the Mother Goddess. For me these cows are somehow attached to women, oppressed in the Turkish culture.
The birds are looking at the cow from the sky. This means the sacrifice doesn’t go the God, but to the birds, who will eat the bones of the dead cow. These bones will reincarnate in the birds and will give the birds the power of life. And then, the cycle will repeat. The symbol on the birds stands for wisdom, grace, happiness, and love. This symbol goes along with the symbol of the Tree of Life – the symbol of perpetually developing life ascending vertically into Paradise. It stands for the Universe existing within continual development and change. The birds of the Tree of Life represent the birds of life, which fly when the time comes. This motif symbolizes the search for immortality and the hope for life after death.
The painting was exhibited:
6 July – 6 August 2022 – Neighbors came, personal project, restaurant Drunken Duck, Lviv, Ukraine
13 May – 13 June 2022 – Listen to Life, personal project, Central Library for Children, Lviv, Ukraine
17 – 18 October 2020 – Sail of Adventures, VII tourist festival of songs, photo, and cinema, participant of an art exhibition, Palace of Culture, Lutsk, Ukraine
19 – 24 August 2020 – V International Parajanov Festival, group exhibition, curator and participant, Suputnyk, Lviv, Ukraine
20 February – 13 March 2020 – Thin Dreams, personal project, PM Gallery, Lviv, Ukraine
29 August – 30 September 2019 – Social Volume, the final exhibition of the art residency by Helikon Art Center, Kara Sanat Atolyesi Gallery, Izmit, Turkey