Turkish-born visual artist Ozlem Yeni has launched The Main Gallery, a contemporary art gallery and studio space in the CBD connecting her two homes of Australia and Turkey.
Introducing The Main Gallery: An arts space connecting Adelaide and Izmir
“I am still in contact with my Turkish friends – the galleries and artists – and am thinking we can send the artists’ pieces over there and they can send their pieces here as an exchange,” Ozlem Yeni tells CityMag.
“I want the gallery to be a bridge between two countries, because Turkey and Adelaide’s art scenes are similar but also quite different.”
Ozlem migrated from Turkey to Australia four years ago, originally settling in the regional Queensland town of Mount Isa for her partner’s work.
The isolation associated with living remotely was a challenge for the academic-turned-artist. Ozlem is at home in the bustle and exhaustion of big cities, such as her former home, Izmir, Turkey’s third-largest city.
When Ozlem’s partner was offered an engineering job with mining giant BHP in Adelaide, they jumped on the opportunity, and almost a year since the move, Ozlem has embarked on the next part of her Adelaide journey: launching The Main Gallery on Halifax Street.
“As a gallery, we are open to everyone, so emerging artists or established artists,” Ozlem says from within her office in the large gallery, which also boasts a light-filled exhibition space as well as a private studio for her personal practice.
“I fell in love with Adelaide, and I said, ‘Okay, I’m not going anywhere and am opening an art gallery in Adelaide.’
“I started to Google all of the artists who live and create here, so I chose a couple for the opening exhibition, SEVEN-IN-ONE.”
SEVEN-IN-ONE runs from now until Friday, 5 December and showcases a variety of local artists, with no outright connection in theme.
Sculptural artist Tom Borgas’ plinths interrupt the open space of the gallery, while veteran abstract painter Alan Todd’s colourful canvases are two-dimensional portals into other worlds.
Ozlem says once she collected the pieces for the exhibition, she noticed they had similar “forms, shapes and colours” which grouped them together.
“I was already collecting people with my energy, aura and style. Maybe not intentionally, but somewhere underneath,” Ozlem says.
Three of Ozlem’s paintings are also displayed in SEVEN-IN-ONE, and depict silhouettes void of gender, age and skin colour, which she hopes remind the viewer “we don’t need to discriminate against each other.”
Since opening, Ozlem extended an invitation to Lord Mayor Sandy Verschoor, as a token of gratitude for the Lord Mayor officially welcoming Ozlem’s family into the Australian community.
“When we became Australian citizens in Adelaide this year, in January, we received our certificate from the Lord Mayor,” Ozlem says.
“I emotionally appreciate her and will always cherish these memories. That’s why I invited her and she accepted. I am honoured.”
The Main Gallery is located at 156 Halifax Street and opens Tuesday through Friday from 11am ’til 5pm, Saturdays from 11am ’til 3pm, and Sunday and Monday by appointment.