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18 · 01 · 2020

Billboard Istanbul


October 6th – 25th2020, Istanbul 


In collaboration with the Danish visual artist, Hanne Lise Thomsen, and the Turkish design and communication platform IN-BETWEEN, the Danish Cultural Institute brought the street art project BILLBOARD ISTANBUL 2020 to Türkiye. Here, 115 female visual artists took over Istanbul’s billboards with new photographic works of art that focused on gender, urban space and identity. Click here to watch the video behind the scenes: https://youtu.be/ZML4KDdtS0w


Billboard Street Art 2020 was a three-week long photographic art exhibition, which took place in the metropolitan city of Istanbul. Turkish, Moroccan and Nordic female contemporary artists, as well as selected female students from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen and Mimar Sinan University of Fine Arts in Istanbul, had their works exhibited on the large billboards scattered across Istanbul. The BILLBOARD-project was created by the Danish visual artist Hanne Lise Thomsen and took place for the very first time back in 2003, in Copenhagen, Denmark and Malmö, Sweden. Since then, the project has been brought to Ramallah, Palestine and Casablanca, Morocco – and now, Istanbul, Türkiye. 


“I consider the gathering and exhibition of photographic art works from 115 women – all of  which come from different cultural backgrounds, ages, etc. – in the public spaces to be an  extremely powerful statement, as this very action in fact results in the spread of contemporary  art to a wider audience.” Hanne Lise Thomsen, visual artist and founder of the Billboard-project


The cityscape of Istanbul changea lot for citizens under the festivalInstead of merely displaying the everyday advertisements for food, clothes or beauty products, the citizens would also encounter photographic works of art with strong and touching, yet subtle motifs. Motifs that all seek to examine gender, the urban space and identity. 


The intention of the project was for the international collection of works to reach out, intervene and take part in the everyday cityscape, thus catalyzing the social dialogue on gender and equality – both among the individual viewers as well as across society and borders. The event was officially opened with formal receptions in both Copenhagen and Istanbul. 


The project was supported by the Danish Art Foundation’s Project Committee, the Nordic Culture fund, DID (The Danish Institute in Damascus), Grosserer L. F. Foghts Fond, Ernst B. Sund Fonden, the International Culture Panel (IKP), Ministry of Culture of Denmark (KUM), Ministry of Foreign Affair of Denmark (UM) and The Danish Embassy in Türkiye. 


Do you want to know more about the BILLBOARD-project in Istanbul?
Then you can visit the projects website right here BILLBOARD ISTANBUL


(Photo header by Zuhal Köcan)