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Sultans of Poetry

Why an exibition?

They were the sultans; they ruled the State they founded for more than six hundred years ... There were times when the flag flew on three continents…then the era changed and they fell from power and became toys in the hands of viziers, statesmen and women. Osman was the founder of the State; henceforth they were called Ottomans, and then the most glorious period in Turkish history began.

Each of them lived like warriors conquering countries with swords in their hands, but they also conquered the hearts and minds of the people with their pens. Some of their pens were even sharper than their swords, so that they went down in history due to their artistic personality rather than their statesmanship.

They were human beings acting in accordance with the wish of the human’s heart. They loved and were loved, cried or smiled, felt either glad or upset...

They expressed all of this with the language of love and affection and turned this into a tradition by writing countless poems. Unfortunately, once our language changed and we forgot these poems, we also forgot that they were human beings who were also carrying a heart. The word “sultan” now only meant “warrior” for us. Whereas, one should not separate a sultan from art, aesthetic and grace. How much time has passed without hearing their lyrical voices in the vault of the heaven? Does anyone know?!

No, no ... my heart did not give consent to this. By all means something had to be done. I had to share with you the sultans’ world of emotions.

Afterwards on the first day my mind was in utter confusion: Maybe I should open an exhibition. But to exhibit poems was not a familiar thing. Where could be the fascination in showing that which must be read, in making visible which must be felt?

Second day:
Well, what if I exhibited the poems along with portraits of the sultans?!.. Who could be surprised to learn that a sultan was a strong poet and to read the written lines and to look at their portraits at the same time?!..

Third day:
What is being offered to narrate and explain poems in our today’s language?!.. I-ih!.. Who can spare some time to read a translation of a poem in this fast modern life?!..

Fourth day:
No, no! .. Peace be upon their souls, I should immediately give up this exhibition idea!

The next morning I started with the preparations and finally I am in front of you. My gratitude to all of those who showed interest and who worked hard.. especially to the President of the University Organisation of IGMG Mr Celal Tüter... .. and his team...

Prof. Dr. İskender Pala


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