Time to speak
Winning the city with women’s words and art

The project

The project “Time for speaking - Winning the city with women’s words and art” underlines the vital importance of the Istanbul Convention for women's lives and for the rights of lgbti+ communities.

To raise awareness to this fact we organised an action with 46 posters of women* artists with demands of the feminist movement and displayed them in several cities on billboards for one week starting on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on 25 November 2021

The project began with preparing a pool of demands / slogans of feminist activists’ groups against homophobia and violence against women. We formulated the criteria for an open call to women* artists, which we published in the social media together with the ethical principles of the project and for the artworks. 158 women* from 16 to 70 responded to the open call. After we selected the participants of the project according to the principles of diversity and inclusiveness, we encouraged the chosen participants to select - from a slogan pool provided to them - a slogan in Turkish which was to serve as an inspiration to the artwork as well as an additional language spoken in Turkey as mother tongue such as Kurdish, Arabic, Greek, Armenian, Circassian, which was to appear alongside the artwork and the chosen slogan in Turkish.

Selection criteria

In the selection of artists inclusiveness was the most important criterion. Special attention was paid to open space for all cultural groups and identities in Turkey. Therefore, making the open call NGSs representing Greek, Jewish, Armenian, Turkish, Kurdish, Laz, Arab, Roman, Yazidi, Circassian, Adyghe, Alevi, immigrant women as well as female, non-binary and trans women artists were addressed and members of these communities were invited to participate in the project. Particular attention was paid to the participation of disabled women+ artists and various age groups.

Originally, we planned to display the artworks of 50 artists on the billboards, but finally only 46 will be displayed. With four artists we had tough discussions because of their work. Their artworks were not compatible with the ethical principles of the project: scenes of violence, depictions of people or other living beings and copyright infringements. The four artists resigned, annoyed by so much "censorship".

From the 108 artists whose works were planned to be shown in the virtual exhibition only 13 remained. Many resigned or gave up for various reasons. Some
- felt insulted because they were not chosen for the billboard action or the project book because they did not match the social criteria of the project design (various age groups, various nationalities, various native languages, religion, gender groups etc.);
- felt insulted after we discussed their artworks in the context of the ethical principles of the project: no scenes of violence, depictions of people or other living beings, and copyright infringements! They did not agree and preferred not to participate;
- had problems to be creative and gave up;
- could not finish their planned artwork within the deadline and gave up;
- just disappeared during the discussion process about the second language they would prefer to see with their artwork;
- tried to send the artwork many weeks after the deadline which we rejected;
- gave up for health reasons.

Categories of the slogans

The posters of the billboard action contain the artworks and feminist demands/slogans of activist groups against homophobia and violence against women. The 83 most popular feminist slogans selected can be categorized under five headings:
1. context of Istanbul Convention
2. most popular feminist slogans
3. slogans from the lgbti+ movement
4. girl child abuse
5. animal rights + environment

We very much enjoyed working with the artists. We were impressed by the artworks presented to us and we hope our visitors will be, too. Have a good visit!

Project group “Time to speak”

Meral Akkent, Şehlem Kaçar, Merve S. Öztürk, Burcu Yılmaz
25 Kasım 2021