It has been almost one month since the 25th Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf, but I am still thinking about all of the great events and presentations from the conference.
One of the highlights from this year’s conference was the “Mark on the Wall” exhibition, which presented art work that was inspired by Virginia Woolf and her female contemporaries. Artists from around the world were represented, and I had the lucky opportunity to interview one of the artists whose work was selected for this exhibition.
Ozlem Habibe Mutaf Buyukarman is an assistant professor of graphic design at Yeditepe University in Turkey. After seeing her piece, “Do Not Call Me Anything IV” displayed at the “Mark on the Wall” exhibition, I asked her a few questions about her work:
In what ways do you think this piece connects with Virginia Woolf and/or the Modernist movement?
Ozlem: In my artwork “Do Not Call Me Anything IV”, you can see knee high stockings worn with trousers by a woman (who probably has a room of her own). The knee-high women’s stockings are a metaphorical expression of stepping forward. This is what modernist women writers and artists do I believe. Along with the stockings I placed labels/tags which stand for the prejudice against women. Thus, the name of the series is “Do Not Call Me Anything.” Also, in terms of style, this is not a decorative piece or an oil on canvas; it is based on experimental, instantaneous involvements of objects and textures presenting the drama of modern life with its consuming, exhausting and unstable condition. This differentiates it and makes it modern, I suppose.
Much of your work, including “Do Not Call Me Anything IV,” seems to put a focus on women’s clothing. In what ways does your work speak to and for women?
Ozlem: The clothing items are somehow the witnesses of our lives, our passions, our emotional commitments, the violence we faced to both physical and psychological in a modern, demanding world. They may symbolise the abandoned self or the avant-gardist… I present the aesthetics of personal items while documenting them, a moment of confrontation.
As a female artist, what kinds of struggles do you think that women artists face today?
Ozlem: Still many… women have to wear many hats at a time. And women writers or artists around the world are facing many struggles such as censorship, visibility and representational issues. Virginia Woolf inspired many women all around the world.
You can view Ozlem’s work and all of the exhibition selections in the “Mark on the Wall Online Catalogue”.