Colors of nature: Neslihan Zabcı’s mosaic art

Artist Neslihan Zabcı made a flourishing come back for mosaic art by infusing the ancient art form with the abundance of natural beauty that can be found in Bodrum. 

Throughout Turkey’s history it has always been a global hub for mosaic art. An appreciation for the art form would come and go throughout the centuries but more recently, artist Neslihan Zabcı has made a comeback for mosaics in Bodrum. Like many artists, she finds Bodrum to be an endless source of inspiration. “I decided to leave Istanbul and move to Bodrum in 2000. I wanted a life far from Istanbul’s chaos. Somewhere calm and most importantly, in the heart of nature, for myself and my daughters,” she told The Guide Bodrum.

Zabcı’s first link with this medium was the mosaic panels that Bedri Rahmi Eyüboğlu designed for the Istanbul Manufacturer’s Market in Zeyrek. After studying the art at the mosaics center of Ravenna in northern Italy, Erdal set up her studio in Bodrum. That move paid off in terms of her mental and physical productivity. “I love Bodrum in all its seasons. You can find inspiration here every day. Both my home and my studio are in a tangerine orchard, so I’m surrounded by green in summer and winter. The subjects I use most in my mosaics come from nature,” she explains.

Bringing mosaic art to streets

Aside from works in exhibitions and commissions for private homes and hotels, Zabcı has also decorated the streets of Bodrum with her mosaics. The most popular of these are her mosaic-covered pots, which adorn the trees on the seaside avenue of Neyzen Tevfik Caddesi. “When I saw the concrete pots around the trees on the avenue in Bodrum three years ago, I thought I should cover them in mosaics and the municipality president approved the project. With the help of my students and assistants, we made and installed mosaic panels for 39 trees. The mosaics for each tree were created with a different sponsor’s support. I used themes and motifs from the Bodrum peninsula in those mosaic designs, everything was supposed to belong to Bodrum,” she recalls.

These public works gained an immediate reaction from a wide range of visitors to Bodrum and residents alike, making the artist’s work all the more worthwhile. Zabcı spoke of the reception to her public mosaics: “After doing most of the work in the studio, it was a whole new pleasure to meet Bodrum residents and tourists while attaching the mosaics to the trees. We forgot all our tiredness when we saw the works being admired, how every new mosaic added color to the people who walked that road, how they anticipated the next one with curiosity, how they had their photos taken with the works.”

Check out her work at Neyzen Tevfik Caddesi, Bodrum or Zabcı’s Bukalemunart studio on Müskebi Caddesi No.172, Ortakent; T: 0532 591 44 58. Or stay up to date with her website at www.bukalemunart.com.

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