Wishes from Hereafter

Yekta Çetinkaya

The exhibition Wishes from Hereafter came to life through a residency at Artengine and will be on view from April 15 until April 30, with a reception on Thursday, April 18, from 5 to 8 pm. (Open until midnight on the night of the reception).

Start: 15/04/2024

End: 30/04/2024


With contributions from Ferhat Demirel

A work of speculative fiction, Wishes from Hereafter examines through a diasporic lens the significance of traditions, narratives, and rituals that are primarily informed by nature and land, notably amid climate change, wars, and rapid globalization. The sculpture located at the center of the work which takes its form from a motif found in Anatolian kilims (tapestries), simulates a wishing tree, a tradition where strips of cloth, ribbons, or prayer beads are tied to trees as a healing ritual or to wish for good health. The metal bars that spear the tree-like structure present contradicting implications; they extend out resembling branches while also suggesting a violent act. The cubic sculptures or artifacts that are found throughout the space on a bed of sand pay homage to the practice of shadow play, an ancient tradition of storytelling prominent in Anatolia, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia. The imagery created by Ferhat Demirel that narrates scenes of rural life and migration are positioned inside these sculptural objects to construct mini theater sets. These fictional artifacts contain and transmit Demirel’s stories that explore our relationship with natural environments. Acting as a monument of warning as well as healing, Wishes from Hereafter questions how a region’s culture which has deceptively become associated with and implicated in conflict, whether through outside influences or by self-representation, can help us reconcile for our shared futures.

Artist Bio:

Yekta Çetinkaya is an emerging visual artist from Istanbul, Turkey, living and working in Ottawa. Çetinkaya’s practice encompasses painting, sculpture, and installation.

Weaving together languages of ancestral technology, scientific manuscripts, Anatolian visual culture, and narratives related to navigation, migration, and journeying, Çetinkaya’s works are introductions to other stories, which exist in past, present, and future, traversing within and between cultures, communities, and histories.

His research-based art practice initiates negotiations between historical narratives of multiple perspectives, destabilizing the entrenched colonial history of discovery and progress, and generating new knowledge for the future.