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Northwestern University
Nathaniel Ezolino ’17 (left) and Ashley Guo ’18 (right) looking at an art exhibit.left

Art in Istanbul

“Eye opening.” That’s how Nathaniel Ezolino ’17 (left) described his adventure in September as he toured one of the world’s preeminent art exhibitions, the Istanbul Biennial, with Ashley Guo ’18 (right) and 15 other Northwestern undergraduates. 

The students were participants in the Global Humanities Lab, a bicontinental course taught through Weinberg’s Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities. During their six days in Istanbul, the students viewed contemporary art by more than 50 international artists, including “The Prophets” (pictured), a collection by Canadian artists Richard Ibghy and Marilou Lemmens. 

The students also participated in discussions with exhibiting artists, explored historic Turkish landmarks and enjoyed a guided tour of Istanbul street art. 

“Istanbul is a city at the crossroads of the East and West, and the students had an opportunity to see how contemporary art is a vibrant part of that connection,” said Associate Professor of Anthropology Jessica Winegar, who led the trip.  

Northwestern had a strong presence at the Biennial: the exhibition was curated by visiting professor Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, and it featured work by art theory and practice professors Michael Rakowitz, Irena Knezevic and Steve Reinke. Five graduate students also assisted with the curatorial project. 

For Ezolino, the highlight of the experience was the opportunity to connect personally with the artists. “You begin to see how artwork reflects the world,” he said.

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