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Blossom in Ankara

“I’m a very passionate artist, my full-time job is being an artist and in my free time I do art.”   


Dear Kathrina, you made the streets of Ankara Blossom! 

Yes, it was a lovely experience. I was super happy. The Mexican Embassy, together with Attila Güllü, were the ones to propose this project to the municipality and they very kindly helped us, providing the permissions as well as the cherry picker. When I was in Ankara I found out that this is the third-largest mural in the city. That’s amazing because a woman also painted the largest mural. We did the mural in about three days. The first day we were setting up the cherry picker and, in the following three days, finishing the mural. It was a very nice time, sharing with the people around because I felt in the beginning that there were a couple of issues; like the people in the building not being completely convinced of what we were doing there and why. As we carried on with the project, they also started to enjoy it. We gave them some options regarding the design so that they could feel that what they would be seeing on the wall was their decision. By the second day, everybody was happy and the people in the building started to enjoy it, they were bringing tea and cake and were very nice to us.

So this was your first time in Ankara, as well as your third exhibition. You stayed for 2 weeks. What are your impressions?

I liked it. I grew up in Northern Mexico and there are similarities in the city. Because Northern Mexico is more modern, the architecture is similar to Ankara, and the climate is very dry. The food was amazing. The only thing is that I did not have much of a chance to explore the city as we were working the whole time, first for ArtAnkara, then the Blossom mural, and afterward I had another exhibition in a gallery on Portakal Çiçeği Sokak. One day we went to the old part of the city. It was wonderful and I took a lot of photographs.
As people, we are definitely very similar. During the exhibition, I met a lady who explained to me that Shamanism is also at the root of Anatolian culture, same as Mexico. The artwork of both our civilizations is very similar when you go down to their roots. I was very excited.

What did you enjoy the most during your Ankara trip? 

The people, one hundred percent! I met such amazing people, amazing artists, everybody super creative, super open, beautiful people. There was a community of artist women who came to support me while painting the mural. It was amazing and very cool to have them with me. It was such a good time, everybody was very positive and happy. Even considering the current pandemic situation, we try our best to be creative and keep the vibrations on high.

As you know Ankara has always been very important, as it’s located on the Silk Road, an ancient trade route from China to Europe, as well as being the capital of many old civilizations. What is the meaning of painting “Blossom” at such an important spot in Anatolia?

I painted Blossom to empower women and to emphasize the value of women in society. I dedicate the Blossom mural to all women, all mothers, sisters, daughters, to encourage them to follow their own dreams and to bloom in every aspect because, as you know, we are important and our opinions and our work is important to society as well. With my mural I want to say to all women, “You are your dreams, go and follow them.”


Interview with Atilla Güllü, the Curator behind BLOSSOM

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? And how did you cross paths with Kathrina?

I started my career in international publishing, had the opportunity to travel the world, and decided to open an art gallery in Ankara in the 90s. Our art gallery, Artrium, was active until the 2000s. I took over the management of Bilkent art gallery in 2004 and opened up many exhibitions there. Apart from that, I have been the curator of many international projects. In the last two years, I have been working solely on my own projects; usually projects related to the embassies in Ankara and overseas. I met Kathrina at the Saint Bridget event we organized with the Irish Embassy. Saint Bridge is an Irish goddess who represents spring and whose history dates back to the pre-Christian period. We opened an exhibit for women, exclusive to women, with a theme based on women. Kathrina was one of the 11 female artists who took part in the exhibit as she has Mexican origins and lived in Ireland for many years. We held an opening on February 1st, 2020 that received a lot of interest, participated in exclusively by female guests. After that, the pandemic started…
In November 2020, we included Kathrina’s work in the “Dia de Muertos” photography exhibition that we organized with the Mexican Embassy upon my recommendation; the colors, themes, and women standing out in Kathrina’s photography resonated with the art-lovers of Ankara and especially female audiences. In this way, we ended up having two exhibitions together within a short period.
Since I knew that Kathrina is also a street artist and considers street art to be of great value to society, we contacted her at Çankaya Municipality and invited her to Ankara once more. On her last visit she attended Art Ankara, the most important cultural art event in Ankara, that takes place every April. After that, she finished her Blossom mural. We held another exhibition for her immediately after. It was very pleasant, and she met many people during the course of these three events. The people of Ankara loved Kathrina, and she left us with a lovely mural.

What makes Ankara so special? Both in general terms, and for you personally?

We could say that it’s the cultural density. In a city with a population of 5-6 million, where a significant number of universities have been founded, and the headquarters of government itself being located here, the number of educated people has grown. I think the people of Ankara are decent. They tend to keep their promises and stick to their timetables.

“We should popularize art in public spaces as much as possible and the way to do that is through sculptures and murals.” -A.Güllü-

Interviews by: Nazli Sagdic Pilcz