HALE EKINCI Artist, Designer, Educator
Hale Ekinci is a Chicago-based Turkish interdisciplinary artist and an Assistant Professor of Art at North Central College, teaching a variety of courses in the Digital Art field. She spent childhood and much of her young adult years in Turkey, the homeland that she brings in and out of focus throughout her works. She completed her MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts and Media at Columbia College Chicago. Focusing on narrative and intercultural connections, her works vary from illustration and mixed media collage to video and installation. Her recent projects touch on social issues, cultural traditions, and political unrest. Despite the sometimes dismal nature of these controversial issues, her works are often playful as she uses vibrant colors, patterns, and hopeful moments. Viewers are encouraged to experience the works and interact with the materials and concepts, to create awareness, start conversations, and spread compassionate stories.
Pictorial histories, gender politics, and traditions from my Turkish upbringing form the basis of my visual vocabulary. My work can be compared to my main influence, indigenous textiles - colorful, pattern-based visuals derived from merging symbols with myth from which they acquire hidden significance and esoteric symbolism. Similarly, I explore my heritage, my alien status living in the US, and the rich history of “women’s work” through non-linear narrative videos and mixed media paintings that are juxtaposed with craft. Historically, textiles and photos are used as a place for recording information and telling stories - like a language, at times hard to decipher. As a foreigner, I’m fascinated by language, especially idioms, systems of communication, and approaching the indigenous visual patterns as a form of typography. I transfer collaged photos of collectives and families onto paper and fabric surfaces; figures painted atop the works act as focal points. Framed with crochet edgings, these pictorial scenes are presented like tapestries and headscarves, telling my sometimes-cryptic personal folklore of mixed language, politics, and spectacle. Applying techniques of collage to the moving image, my multi-layered, animated videos explore immigrant identity as seen from both Turkish and foreign perspectives. Using a combination of field video, green screen, still images, and drawings, I craft non-linear narratives where relations, identity conventions, rituals, and women’s issues result in tense scenes that reflect the universal bizarreness of traditions and stereotypes.