Ahmet Polat / ROOTS

Artist, curator and researcher Ahmet Polat has received numerous awards from international art institutions and his works have been exhibited in some of the most important museums across the globe. His new exhibition “ROOTS” opens at Kalyon Cultural Centre in March, 2020.

About the Exhibition

Artist, curator and researcher Ahmet Polat has received numerous awards from international art institutions and his works have been exhibited in some of the most important museums across the globe. His new exhibition “ROOTS” opens at Kalyon Cultural Centre in March, 2020.

As the first Turkish photographer to receive the “Young Photographer” award at the 22nd Infinity Awards organised by ICP (International Center of Photography, New York), the world’s leading institute dedicated to photography, Ahmet Polat’s works have been exhibited at prestigious art centres including Rijksmuseum (Amsterdam), Stedelijk Museum (Schiedam), Hermitage Museum (Amsterdam), FOAM Museum (Amsterdam), and the Bahrain International Museum, Bozar (Brussels). The artist, curator and researcher’s new project “Roots” goes public as the first exhibition of Kalyon Cultural Centre which opened in 2020.

Polat received the “Ambassador of Dutch Photography” title by FOTOWEEK Festival in 2015. He has previously opened exhibitions in Turkey in prominent venues such as Istanbul Modern, Istanbul Design Biennial, National Museum of Painting and Sculpture (Ankara), Galeri x-ist (Istanbul), DEPO (Istanbul), Leica Galeri Istanbul and Karşı Sanat (Istanbul). Polat’s book “Kemal’s Dream” was showcased at Amsterdam’s Unseen Art Fair in 2012. The following year, he was shortlisted for the Dutch Doc Award, one of Netherlands’ most important photography awards, with two different projects: “Kemal’s Dream” and “Esmer Ay/ Dark Moon”. His works have also been featured by numerous Dutch venues including Dorts Museum, Photo Museum (The Hague) and Breda Photograph Festival.
Polat has done advertisement and fashion shoots for international publications like Vogue France and Turkey, Harper’s Bazaar, Paris Match, Marie Claire, New York Times, Quest and Vice.

Since 2018, Polat has been developing international projects on identity, migration and education through his Studio Polat Foundation that aims to establish links between different cultures, disciplines and creative platforms.

With a focus on the concepts of identity, roots and heritage, “Roots” is his first exhibition to be hosted by Kalyon Cultural Centre in 2020. The exhibition which includes videos and photographs is based on two trips Polat made to his father’s hometown in Antep 18 years apart. Having grown up estranged from his father, Polat invited him on his second trip to Antep in 2019 which evolved into a journey of discovering the artist’s own past and heritage. “Roots” is more than a portrayal of the changing face of Antep over the years. It unveils the personal story of an international artist who comes from this geography. Polat encourages the audience to think about father-son relations and the impact of investigating the past in the development of identity.

About the Artist

Ahmet Polat was born in 1978 and was raised as the child of a Dutch and Turkish family in the Netherlands. After graduating from St. Joost Academy, he started working both in Istanbul and the Netherlands.

Polat became the first Turkish photographer to receive the “Young Photographer” award at the 22nd Infinity Awards organised by ICP (International Center of Photography, New York), the world’s leading institute dedicated to photography.

Polat’s book “Kemal’s Dream” was showcased at Amsterdam’s Unseen Art Fair in 2012. The following year, he was shortlisted for the Dutch Doc Award, one of Netherlands’ most important photography awards, with two different projects: “Kemal’s Dream” and “Esmer Ay/ Dark Moon”.

Polat received the “Ambassador of Dutch Photography” title by the nationwide FOTOWEEK Photography Festival.

Since 2001 Ahmet Polat has opened personal exhibitions in galleries, museums and biennials, appeared in group exhibitions and fairs in different cities in the Netherlands and Turkey.

Polat has done advertisement and fashion shoots for international publications like Vogue France and Turkey, Harper’s Bazaar, Paris Match, Marie Claire, New York Times, Quest and Vice.
Some of the artist’s personal exhibitions include “Kayapinar’da Sessizlik/Silence in Kayapinar” (Dorts Museum, Netherlands, 2001), “Ev Rüyalarımı Bıraktığım Yerdir/Home is Where I Leave my Dreams” (Karşı Sanat, Istanbul, 2003; National Museum of Painting And Sculpture, Ankara, Turkey, 2004), “Eski Ülke, Yeni Ülke/Old Country, New Country” (Photo Museum The Hague, Netherlands, 2004), “Değişimi Kabullenmek/Accepting Change” (x-ist, Istanbul, 2005), “Sadece Davetliler/By Invitation Only” (x-ist, Istanbul, 2006), “Ne Orada, Ne Burada/Neither Here or There” (Breda Photography Biennial, 2008), “Kemal’s Dream” (FOAM, Amsterdam, 2010; DEPO, Istanbul, 2012), “The Other Kemal” (x-ist, Istanbul, 2014) and “A Bridge Too Far” (x-ist, Istanbul, 2016). Some of the group exhibitions featuring Polat’s work are “Fluorescent Adolescent” 
(7th International Photography Biennial, Netherlands, 2010), “In what language shall I tell you my story?” (Stedelijk Schiedam, Netherlands, 2012), “Modern Turkey” (Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, 2012), “Istanbul Modern – Bahrain” (Bahrain National Museum, Bahrain, 2013), “On the Move” (Stedelijk Amsterdam, 2014), “Imagine Istanbul” (Bozar, Brussels, 2015).