“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”
The most important reason to give life to the Mercan Dede Art House project has been to collect my 30 years of visual art work under the same roof, as I believe it is important that all forms of art should reach out to the largest masses possible and art work should be in service of all humanity, not a small group of people.
As an artist who has taken his master degree in printing branch of visual arts, the idea of my work to be reproduced in limited number and in the most quality form possible, hence reaching wider audiences excites me. I would like to thank you for sharing this excitement with us and passing by our house.
About Mercan Dede
Born in Bursa in 1966, Arkın Ilıcalı is known worldwide as Mercan Dede. After completing his masters degree on visual arts in Turkey and abroad, Ilıcalı has focused largely on sound and music in recent years. However, in recent years, he is resuming his old job, which he has always kept his interest in, and concentrates on the printing and multimedia branches of the visual arts.
His interest in photography started under guidence of Professor Kayhan Güven of Istanbul University, Faculty of Communication. This interest was intensified by his engagement with ‘ebru’, a traditional Turkish fine art branch, when he was the assistant of Professor Nur Taviloğlu at the Fine Arts Faculty of Istanbul University. Following, he suspended his journalism education to start Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts in Saskatchewan University. After completing his studies in printing department of the faculty led by Charles Ringnes, he moved to Montrel to continue with a Fine Arts Master within the Studio Arts program at the Concordia University. After 6 years of master studies at Concordia, he put an end to his academic work in printing techniques in order to be able to prioritise his music works. In 2001, he has been the only Turkish artist to be invited to the “Artist International Direct Support” project supported by Nelson Mandela and Dalai Lama. As a part of this project, his prints were collected in to a book together with other artists from various other countries.
In 2011, he exhibited ‘Army of Lovers’ at EKAVART Art Gallery Istanbul and later at Ankara CER Modern. In 2012, together with Carlito Dalceggio, he used the whole 7th floor of Borusan Music House for a huge exhibition of ‘Revolution Revelation’.
This exhibition welcomed more than 60.000 visitors. In 2015, he exhibited ‘Ancient Time Machine’ at EKAVART Gallery Istanbul and later at Büyük Efes Art Gallery in Izmir. These exhibitions were followed by the ‘Enchanted Wheels’ series which, by the artist’s words, contains the notions such as transformation of life, changing of the human beings, spinning of the whirling dervishes and karma. Hosted by EKAVART, this series drew great interest of the art lovers.
After the success of his personal exhibitions, the artist continued his work and in 2019, he worked alongside the most prominent contemporary Turkish artists such as Devrim Erbil and Ergin İnan in ‘Tribute to Leonardo’, the group exhibition which commemorated the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci. The same year he took on the design of the conceptual room of Istanbul Art Show, called ‘Post Truth’.
By the end of 2020, the work he created in his studio in Canada during the pandemic days were exhibited in Mona Art Gallery, one of the distinguished art galleries in Kuzguncuk, Istanbul. The works inspired by street art drew a huge attention.
And now, the artist launches the ‘Mercan Dede Art House’ project that brings together all his work up to date under one roof and offers his works in both original and Fine Art print formats to all art lovers.