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Around the Tree: Notes on Gülsün Karamustafa’s Jail Experience and Its Resonances with Argentinian Cultural Production

Gülsün Karamustafa, Prison Paintings 14, 1972, mixed media on paper, 40 × 42cm. Courtesy the artist and BüroSarıgedik
Ana Longoni approaches Gülsün Karamustafa’s work in light of artistic parallels in Argentina and shared experiences of imprisonment, disappearance and dictatorship. The following text draws parallels between some works by Argentinian cultural producers active during the last military junta (1976–83) and Turkish artist Gülsün Karamustafa, whose works on trauma, nation-building and civil rights witnessed the 1960, ’71 and ’80 military coups in the country. These and other more recent works discussed give accounts of imprisonment and disappearance of people under dictatorship. They touch upon distinct approaches to these experiences. In bringing political scientist Pilar Calveiro, photographer Adriana Lestido and architect Gustavo Contepomi into dialogue with the installations, films and paintings of Karamustafa, the aim is to offer a glimpse into their shared will to survive, sisterhood and solidarity despite terror.