Work#264 Take Yourself Home
With my series "Take Yourself Home," I explore the lives of people who fled their home countries due to wars, family violence, or societal norms and government regulations; and ended up seeking asylum in Berlin because of their gender identity or sexual orientation. The story reflects my journey of weaving bonds with the queer and trans refugee and asylum seeker community through beauty, fragility, friendship, and joy. I try to balance this approach by reflecting on moments critical to their survival, such as dealing with past traumas, separation from loved ones, starting over a new life in a gentrified city.
Below are the answers of Q&A I received from Beauty for a Better World 2020:
What is the inspiration and story behind the submitted work?
This work explores the lives of people who fled their home countries because of their gender identity or sexual orientation. The story reflects my journey of weaving bonds with the queer and trans refugee and asylum seeker community through beauty, fragility, friendship, and joy.
The inspiration comes from two elements. The first one is my life. I don't feel comfortable living in today's Turkey because of my queer identity; thus, I made my way to Berlin as an immigrant. Therefore, I deeply relate to the story. The second inspiration comes from my dream about expanding the representation of queer, trans, and refugee stories in the media and the art world. They both fail to demonstrate the communities in communities' wholeness as they have way more to offer than merely suffering or their body.
What is the definition and purpose of pure beauty to you? My definition of pure beauty is to come closer to our true selves and see the beauty first within.
Can you describe the creative process that inspires you to create beauty? My creative process is to get to know people, bond with them, and make sure there is a safe space between the individuals I am photographing and me. Only then can I create a beautiful image that a person feels comfortable revealing. Also, I feed my imagination with the personal stories I listen to, from the same people. This process inspires me to see the world around me differently and capture what reminds me of the story I create and add more layers to it.
Do you have any examples of how beauty can arise from moments of crisis?
Absolutely. All the refugees who made their way to Berlin came from moments of crisis, and in the end, they become a much better version of themselves. To me, this is beauty.
What are your hopes for humanity in a post COVID-19 world?
For the first time in our generation, COVID-19 became the only common worry, no matter who we are and where we are. This crisis makes us see what privileges we all have, and who else has or doesn't have those. I hope that humanity will collectively be more empathetic to one another from now on.