In 2016, Contemporary Istanbul and Aralık Foundation, with the endorsement of Turkey’s Ministry of National Education, have collaborated in an arts initiative to support a school project for Kilis’ and Syrian children in Turkey. Organized to raise funds for the project, an extensive exhibition hosted 62 leading contemporary artists. It took place on 12 and 13 May 2016 at the Sofa Hotel in Istanbul. All funds from sales of the exhibited works went towards the financial support of the project.
24,000 Syrian refugees who reside in Kilis were forced to leave their countries due to civil war and most of them are under 18. There are existing projects in the region that provide for their physical and social needs, but limited physical space and opportunities for school buildings in the area pose a considerable hindrance to the children’s ability to obtain an extensive and quality education. The 18-classroom primary school was built on a 5,484m2 area and completed in the beginning of 2018–2019 school calendar. The main idea behind the development is to inspire a socially responsible project guided by art and its unifying power.
List of the prominent contemporary artists who generously contributed work to the exhibition: Ahmet Doğu İpek, Ahmet Elhan, Ahmet Güneştekin, Alev Ermiş Mavitan, Ali Bilge Akkaya, Ali Elmacı, Ali Kotan, Ali İbrahim Öcal, Ali Emir Tapan, Ani Çelik Arevyan, Aras Seddigh, Ardan Özmenoğlu, Ayşe Gül Süter, Azade Köker, Bahadır Baruter, Bihrat Mavitan, Buğra Erol, Burcu Perçin, Burçak Bingöl, Burçin Başar, Candaş Şişman, Cenk Akaltun, Ebru Uygun, Ekrem Yalçındağ, Ela Cindoruk, Elvan Alpay, Emin Mete Erdoğan, Ergin İnan, Erkut Terliksiz, Erol Eskici, Guido Casaretto, Gül Kozacıoğlu, Gülay Semercioğlu, Günnur Özsoy, Hale Tenger, Hayri Ağan, İrfan Önürmen, İsmail Acar, Joana Kohen, Kemal Seyhan, Leyla Gediz, Melek Mazıcı, Meltem Işık, Mike Berg, Mithat Şen, Murat Germen, Murat Morova, Murat Palta, Murathan Özbek, Mustafa Horasan, Nazan Pak, Nejat Satı, Nermin Er, Nihat Kemankaşlı, Rasin Berk, Seçkin Pirim, Seda Hepsev, Serdar Arat, Serkan Adın, Şükran Moral, Tan Mavitan, Yağız Özgen, Yılmaz Aysan, Yusuf Sevinçli and Zeynep Solakoğlu.