Since the escalation of the war in Syria, millions of people have left their homes, with a majority fleeing to Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan. Public spaces in cities like Istanbul, transformed by this climate of movement and exile, encompass different possibilities for encounters and interactions. The zine and exhibition project, Apricots from Damascus, constructed by Dilek Winchester and Atıf Akın, pays homage to Andre Breton's statement "One publishes to find comrades!" and aims to create a multilingual environment for production and exchange. The participants of the project used the fanzine format to draw on personal experiences, or on the relics of waves of immigration that took place in the recent history of the Republic of Turkey, with a specific focus on Istanbul.
Apricots from Damascus builds upon an earlier zine project Apricot City A4, which was initiated in Istanbul by artist Winchester in 2010, and distributed by the local city PVC pushcart tenders. An unregulated, but tolerated business, these carts are part of Istanbul's urban, informal economy, and are often operated by migrants from Eastern Anatolia, particularly Malatya, a region famous for its apricots.
In 2015 Winchester teamed up with one of the original contributors, Akın, to collaborate on a new zine and an exhibition program that was presented at SALT Galata in Istanbul and later at SALT Ulus in Ankara between 2015 and 2016. The title of this collaborative project, Apricots from Damascus, is translated from the Turkish "Şam'da Kayısı" that forms part of an idiomatic expression meaning "It doesn't get any better than this." The zines were printed in Arabic, English and Turkish. Apricots from Damascus took place as an apexart franchise exhibition in collaboration with SALT.
A selection of the zines, namely those by Atıf Akın, Nadia Al Issa, Hera Büyüktaşçıyan and Dilek Winchester, Khaled Barakeh and Pınar Öğrenci, that most closely relate to the themes of this e-pubication are reproduced here.
The complete list of participants in Apricots from Damascus included: Atıf Akın, Nadia Al Issa, Marwa Arsanios, Khaled Barakeh, Sezgin Boynik, Hera Büyüktaşçıyan, Ergin Çavuşoğlu, Angela Harutyunyan, Minna Henriksson, Armine Hovhannisyan, Marianna Hovhannisyan, Güven İncirlioğlu (The Pope), Banu Karaca, Pınar Öğrenci, Zeynep Öz, Aras Özgün, Dilek Winchester and Fehras Publishing Practices.
Click HERE to download the Introduction to Apricots from Damascus
Click HERE to download Issue Number 01 by Nadia Al Issa
Click HERE to download Issue Number 06 Apricots from The Damascus Room by Atıf Akın
Click HERE to download Issue Number 07 by Pınar Öğrenci
Click HERE to download Issue Number 08 Dedicated to İvi Stangali by Hera Büyüktaşçıyan and Dilek Winchester
Click HERE to download Issue Number 13 by Khaled Barakeh