“Ekin Onat’s project for the Venice Biennale sensationally exposes police brutality and political revolt in Turkey. As the country prepares for a historic referendum, Onat explains why she faces exile
t started, somewhat innocuously, with a tree. Ekin Onat waves a hand across Gezi Park in central Istanbul, on a bright but quiet Saturday morning, pinpointing the recent history of protest that galvanised all but two of Turkey’s 81 provinces in the spring of 2013.
“A tree! Green space!” Nothing more radical than the environment, she says, walking me through the greenery hitched to the concrete slabs of Taksim Square. Peaceful demonstrations against government plans to bulldoze the park
to build a shopping mall spiralled
; mass revolt led to brutal police violence which left at least four people dead and more than 8,000 injured. The momentum of Occupy Gezi
swept Turkey – and flipped Onat’s life for ever…”
art., Artist, Revolution