On a windswept beach in Malibu, CA, not far from the oceanside mansions of Hollywood film stars, producers and studio executives, a cherubic Turkish artist wades into the surf toting a 30-feet silk fabric. Most painters seek to shield their canvasses from the elements or see them exhibited in climate-controlled galleries behind protected glass.
But Gulay Alpay dips her silk painting into the sea, letting the surf tug and twist it as if it were kelp. She says she wants the ocean, and the creatures who reside in it, to know they are revered, remembered and the source of what inspires her art. Back on shore, Alpay and a group organized by Art 4 All People, a Malibu-based company that promotes Turkish artists in the U.S., hold the banner aloft to flutter in the wind like a prayer flag, while others offer blessings for the earth to a sacred bonfire.
“Healing Art is being born as we speak,” says Dr. Michael Samuels, a physician and supporter of Art 4 All People , the company hosting Alpay’s U.S. art tour. “The concept is catching fire; is awakening in people’s spirits. Artists, musicians and dancers are realizing their imagery has meaning; that their imagery heals them, others, their neighborhood, and the earth.”
Critics describe Alpay’s outsized paintings as “full of poetry, vibrant colors, and light” and have compared her rich use of color to the work of Kandinsky, Pollock and De Kooning. There is a lyricism to Alpay’s work. The artist points to the kelp, seaweed and salt adhering to her work after its dip in the Pacific Ocean and smiles, as if pleased to reunite elements of the sea with the painted orcas that adorn her silken banner.
Alpay’s short stay in Los Angeles in March made a splash beyond Malibu. Ceylan Hulya MA and Lisa Rasmussen MFA , the Co-Founders of Art 4 All People held an art installation showcasing Alpay’s work in the heart of Hollywood to commemorate the March 8 observance of International Women’s Day 2014. The women coaxed passersby to interact with Alpay’s outstretched silk banners. Alpay also attended an Oscar party hosted by Elton John and his partner, to benefit the singer’s AIDS Foundation. Turkish model Demet Oger, wore Alpay’s original hand-painted dresses at the Oscar party. Even with an A-list guest list of actors, singers and fashion designers, such as Robert De Niro, Jane Fonda, Britney Spears, Lady Gaga and Donatella Versace, the Turkish women’s attire drew approving nods— and even one order for the artist’s one-of-a-kind dresses.
The petite Turkish artist seems ready to paint on any and all surfaces at any moment. She even carries a pouch with her brushes and paints, in the event inspiration calls. The artist also freely passes her brushes to others,coaxing visitors to her exhibits to collaborate and paint on her trademark silk canvasses.
Art 4 All People, embraces Alpay’ s interactive work and felt she was an ideal representative for Art 4 All People’s international artist in residency program and its online gallery . ”Since our inception in 2012 our mission has been to erase the false divide between artist and non-artist,” says Rasmussen of Art 4 All People. “We want to release the inner artist in everyone, as we know that art at its core transcends all cultural boundaries. We are building bridges throughout the world and look forward to working with more artists just like Alpay, who are working in the same socially conscious and arts and healing vein.”
In July, Alpay will return to the U.S. for another Art 4 All People, interactive art event at Commonweal, a 60-acre retreat center in northern California. Art 4 All People’s three months long exhibit will include panels with doctors, healers, shamans and artists, as well as art events, and will focus on exploring the capacity of art to heal. In Spring of 2015, Ceylan Hulya MA, the Turkish-born Co- Founding Director of Art 4 All People, will bring to Turkey her company’s signature traveling exhibit, Bridge to the Soul;:The Art of Healing. The exhibition will also feature an intercultural YogART (yoga and art) retreat
featuring the work of U.S. and Turkish artists.
Source: Art 4 All People