A short video of a gallery exhibition of some of the Art Kilims of Belkis Balpinar of Anatolia.
Large or small, Turkish kilims have always been distinguished by their flat weave and their often bold colors patterned into localized, even ritualized designs.
Recent archeological finds have led some experts to believe that kilim-weaving techniques first developed in Anatolia - Asia Minor - perhaps as early as 7000 BCE.
Lately, kilims have become popular as decorative items in the West as well, and Turkey's urban upper and middle classes too have taken notice of kilims as a distinct - and distinctively Anatolian - form of cultural expression.
For scholar, writer and artist Belkis Balpinar, Turkish carpets - and especially kilims - are a lifelong passion.
They are both the subject of her study and the medium of her artistic expression, her link from past to present, and her path to the future.
Balpinar calls her original pieces "mural kilims," because - unlike traditional kilims, which employ flat, geometrical motifs - they use design and color to create a three-dimensional pictorial space, and thus can be viewed as a form of woven painting.
Her pieces are exhibited at galleries in Istanbul, Europe and the US, and her scholarship is manifested on her bookshelves.
She has six books including, with archeologist James Mellaart and ethologist Udo Hirsch, The Goddess from Anatolia, published in 1989 by Eskenazi, which proposes the idea that many kilim motifs may derive from symbols used in Neolithic wall paintings and on other prehistoric artifacts.
For Balpinar, the road from tradition to innovation has spanned more than three decades of work.
She was born in Eskisehir in northwest Anatolia; her father, an ethnic Turk,, was a teacher who had immigrated from Bulgaria, and her mother was Turkish.
In 1963, after graduating from the textile department of Istanbul's Academy of Fine Arts, Balpinar was hired as a carpet designer and researcher by state-owned Sumerbank, where she worked until 1968.
The Goddess from Anatolia
James Mellaart, Belkis Balpinar and Udo Hirsch
Milan, 1989. Four volumes.
Other books by Belkis Balpinar
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