One of Anatolia’s latest discoveries in terms of ancient cities, Sagalassos is now preparing to be explored anew with a visit from prominent figures of the contemporary Turkish art scene. Along with being a social responsibility project, the exhibit titled “For Sagalassos” to take place in the Bozlu Art Project Mongeri Building from June 20th to August 31st also seeks to engage the art world’s interest in this ancient city.
Located in the district of Ağlasun within the province of Burdur and carrying traces of human settlement dating back 12,000 years, Sagalassos was first noticed by French traveller Paul Lucas in 1706, which is how it originally came to be mentioned in Western literature. Being one of the best preserved ancient cities due to its sheltered location on the steep slopes of the Taurus mountains, Sagalassos experienced its golden age under the reign of Roman Emperor Hadrian (AD 117-138). At this time, it was credited as the most important urban center of the Pisidia region. With Hadrian’s magical touch, the city’s most outstanding monuments and artistic achievements came underway. This period of rise continued until the 7th century AD, after which the city started to decline following an earthquake and plague outbreaks. Though traces of continued life have been found in the city up until the 13th century, after this date human settlement moved down to the plain, to where the town and district center Ağlasun is located today.
Many valuable archaeological artefacts have been discovered since 1990 in excavations led by the University of Leuven, one of Belgium’s long-standing, well-established institutions. Findings from this site constitute a major portion of the inventory of the Burdur Archaeological Museum, which is among Anatolia’s finest. The site also made it to Turkey’s Tentative List of UNESCO World Heritage sites in 2009.
In this year’s themed summer exhibition, which has by now become an annual tradition, Bozlu Art Project chooses to focus on Sagalassos. As well as looking once more at these lands that have been inhabited since Antiquity, trodden by Alexander the Great, and home to the Anatolian enlightenment in order to derive brand new inspirations under our present-day conditions, the seven artists in this exhibit have also come together to shed light on the past with guidance from the Sagalassos Foundation so that the Roman Baths of Sagalassos may be rehabilitated. This social responsibility project involving Murat Germen, Selma Gürbüz, Kazım Karakaya, Murat Morova, Seyhun Topuz, Utku Varlık and Semih Zeki, lasting from June 20th to August 31st, is comprised of either new works these artists were inspired to create upon visiting the ancient city under the auspices of the Sagalassos Foundation or former works of theirs they wished to include here. The revenue from sales of artworks part of this exhibit shall be used by the Sagalassos Foundation for the restoration of the ancient city’s Roman Baths. The exhibit seeking to carry the ancient city of Sagalassos, a gift from history to our present, into the future by bringing it in touch with novel worlds and ideas may be viewed at the Bozlu Art Project Mongeri Building until August 31st, 2019.