MIA Shattered Feleksan Onar
MIA: Shattered by Feleksan Onar
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MIA (the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Qatar) is showcasing Shattered, a collection of exquisite glass sculptures created by Turkish artist Feleksan Onar. The artworks are on view in the MIA’s splendid Damascus Room. One will be able to have a look at them until the 7th of May, 2024. 

Focusing on the massive earthquakes that happened in Southeast Turkey and Northern Syria this year, the Shattered exhibition examines forced displacement and the innate power that can arise from tragedy. The artist’s exhibited creations, hand-carved birds made of glass (her preferred medium of choice), symbolise frailty and strength and reflect the experiences of those affected by natural disasters. 

Onar has created her sculptures employing the Kintsugi technique. Kintsugi is a Japanese art of mending damaged ceramics by putting broken pieces back together with gold. The cracks remain visible. Representing the beauty resulting from alteration and change, this serves as a metaphor for embracing one’s flaws and imperfections. 

About the artist

Feleksan Onar, who was born in 1966 and grew up in Turkey, obtained her Undergraduate Degree in Economics and Music History from Cornell University. She also graduated from Harvard Business School. The artist received formal training in traditional glassmaking at Glass Furnace (Istanbul). In 2003, Onar founded her atelier, Fy-Shan Glass Studio, in Istanbul; she also works in Berlin (Germany) and Murano (Venice, Italy).

The sources of Onar’s inspiration include her personal history and collective memory. In her art, she delves into such themes as identity, constructed narratives, historical relations, and the impacts of politics on society. The collection of her glass birds titled Perched reflects on the Syrian refugee situation. In her 41X series of 41 glass bridges, the artist focuses on the cultural interaction that evolved through glass art between the Ottoman Empire and Venice.

Feleksan Onar, Perched (installation view). Museum für Völkerkunde, Dresden, Germany, 2021. Photo: Dario J. Lagana.

Onar has displayed her works in several notable art institutions such as Arkas Museum (Izmir, Turkey); Victoria & Albert Museum (London, UK); Pergamon Museum (Berlin, Germany), and Magazzino Gallery (Palazzo Polignac, Venice, Italy). Her art pieces can be found in prestigious public and private collections across the globe: Riihimaki Glass Museum (Finland); Contemporary Glass Art Museum (Eskisehir, Turkey); and Staatliche Kunstsammlungen (Dresden, Germany), to mention a few.

To get more information about Shattered, please visit its official web page.

You might also be interested in attending Terra Ephemera by Mariam Abbas.

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