A Süphan on Lake Van

A Suphan for Celal -©2016 TriciVenola— Project patron Celal Ögmen grew up in this village a few decades ago. He came to Istanbul as a teenager. He stood outside a prosperous fish restaurant in Kumkapi: Kalamar, saying in to the tourists in all their languages, “Come here and eat fish.” Now he owns the restaurant and the one next door, educates his daughter in New York, is a cornerstone of local industry and a patron of the arts. One brother is a judge, the other a barrister in New York. You can do anything with brains and moxie.

A Suphan for Celal -©2016 TriciVenola— Project patron Celal Ögmen grew up in this village a few decades ago. He came to Istanbul as a teenager. He...
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Adam and Eve at Akdamar
2016 Adam & Eve at Holy Cross Aghtamar Island Lake Van 915-921 CE -©2016 TriciVenola — This last date refers to when they were carved. Note that Adam and Eve were carved sans genitalia. Despite damage by vandals, both still have curiously benign expressions. Down in the lower right corner is a an eviscerated female figure. The vandals left the snake alone, perhaps for professional courtesy.
2016 Adam & Eve at Holy Cross Aghtamar Island Lake Van 915-921 CE -©2016 TriciVenola — This last date refers to when they were carved. Note tha...
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Bible Stories in Stone

Bible Stories in Stone ©TriciVenola 2016

Few could read, so these figures proclaimed the Holy Word to all who looked on them. Absolute delight carved in red tufa, these figures are about 3/4 life-size and protrude about 4 inches from the stone blocks from which they are carved. One pictures the cartoons on paper or canvas fixed to the surface of blocks that stick out farther than those above and below. They would have covered the back of the canvas with pigment and traced the drawings from the front. And then up on ladders, hacking and then tapping away, finalizing with passion and skill, patiently creating the vivid images in the tedious medium. Armenian art is all based on circles. Its testimony to the expertise of the artists that these figures carved on stone blocks are all so curvilinear. And those borders!

Bible Stories in Stone ©TriciVenola 2016Few could read, so these figures proclaimed the Holy Word to all who looked on them. Absolute delight carved...
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Harmantepe
Harmantepe- very wet cold day -1May -©2016 TriciVenola — Another cousin of Celal’s, Ridvan, showed up at the hotel to take me at last to the village I’d come to draw, up in the mountains above Adilcevaz. We drove through misty rain under lowering clouds, with these four mountains brooding in front of us all the way: dark and implacable. On the way, we stopped for a flock of sheep, and I got out and took a photograph of this village. I was able to get this drawing later. It took hours, and the rain would have made it impossible in any case.
Harmantepe- very wet cold day -1May -©2016 TriciVenola — Another cousin of Celal’s, Ridvan, showed up at the hotel to take me at last to the vi...
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Süphan Mountain

Father Mountain 24 April -©2016 TriciVenola —Celal wanted drawings of what he saw as a child when he climbed up this hill over the town:In one direction, the town, and in the other, this second-tallest mountain in Turkey. Everyone in town calls it Father Mountain.

Father Mountain 24 April -©2016 TriciVenola —Celal wanted drawings of what he saw as a child when he climbed up this hill over the town:In one dire...
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Teahouse at Ulu Camii

The teahouse at Ulu Camii. Kef Kales, Adilcevaz, Lake Van. Terraces cut 3500 years ago roll up from the lake. Everyone in town knows this spot: a happy tranquil place. And you can drink the water.  -©2016 TriciVenola— I spent a few hours drawing this, with a couple of interested gents from the mosque checking in now and then to see how it progressed. As I drew, groups of people drove up and sat chatting in the teahouse. This is the same view the denizens of the ancient city had, from every single house, rising in tiers up from the lake.

The teahouse at Ulu Camii. Kef Kales, Adilcevaz, Lake Van. Terraces cut 3500 years ago roll up from the lake. Everyone in town knows this spot: a happ...
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The Aqueduct at Süphan

A shepherd: the Aqueduct at Asagi Süphan -©2016 TriciVenola  — He leaped up on the very edge of the ancient aqueduct and harangued the sheep, while all around him was glory. He did it just as I had gotten to that place in the drawing, as though it had been planned. We are in A Suphan, where project patron Celal Ögmen grew up, and he particularly asked me to draw the aqueduct. This took about an hour and a half to draw, sitting on the old stones while chickens strutted nearby. That’s Lake Van out there, and this aqueduct originally ran all the way down to it, about 4000 years ago.

A shepherd: the Aqueduct at Asagi Süphan -©2016 TriciVenola  — He leaped up on the very edge of the ancient aqueduct and harangued the sheep,...
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The Monks of Holy Cross
Bunnies among the tombstones on Aghtamar Island, Lake Van -©2016 TriciVenola— Oh it is remote. Dead silent, miles of pale water between you and the shore, no electricity, freezing in winter, much discipline, much work. What the monks lacked in creature comforts was replaced by the absolute luxury of their art and craftsmanship. There was a library here, and perhaps manuscript illumination, as well as the carved bas-reliefs, the paintings, the stonework. These gravestones are from many centuries and surround the church. Some have been knocked down, others broken or eroded, but each intricately decorated tombstone, created with patience and care, celebrates an entire life dedicated to faith.
Bunnies among the tombstones on Aghtamar Island, Lake Van -©2016 TriciVenola— Oh it is remote. Dead silent, miles of pale water between you and the...
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Their Old House in Canakyayla
Their old house in Çanakyayla - original Kurdish name: Werangazi Soddies like my ancestors lived in out on the American prairies -©2016 TriciVenola — This is the village Celal’s mother was born in; drawing it was the reason for the project. When his mother was born, people undoubtedly lived in this house, which showed clear remains of a kitchen. Somebody lived in it not too long ago, for there were still the rags of curtains fluttering near the remains of a window. To the right, a rock house with a sod roof shelters sheep. In the distance are modern cinderblock houses. Notice the electrical lines. Until recently, villages as remote as this one had no electricity at all.
Their old house in Çanakyayla - original Kurdish name: Werangazi Soddies like my ancestors lived in out on the American prairies -©2016 TriciVenola ...
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