16 January - 13 February 2016

Cemre Yeşil & Maria Sturm

For Birds Sake-Sturm Yesil 01

Daire Gallery presents a collaborative exhibition and book ''Kuşların Hatrına // For Birds’ Sake'' by Cemre Yeşil and Maria Sturm, which focuses on the ’shrouded’ relationship between the Birdmen and their birds, between  16 January – 13 February.

For hundreds of years Istanbul has been a very important city for aviculture. The city’s geographical location for bird migration has led to the establishment of a huge culture dedicated to birds and their care. Many diverse social platforms exist, for example, devoted to the keeping and breeding of birds. This culture is rooted in the Greek community who lived in Istanbul during the Ottoman Empire and it is adopted by Turkish men throughout time. Many of the Birdmen today have been fascinated by these birds since they were little boys. It was their fathers and grandfathers, their uncles and so on who'd take them to catch birds upon the hills of Istanbul.

Today, this culture is in danger; keeping songbirds such as goldfinches and greenfinches, in particular, may soon vanish due to Turkey’s adoption of rules and regulations aimed at European Union candidacy. If an officer from the Turkish Ministry of Forestry and Agriculture catches you catching birds on a hill, there is a penalty of 500 Turkish Liras for each bird you have. And then there is the urban transformation in Istanbul which causes not only political resistance (e.g. Gezi Park) but also natural disruptions. Istanbul is a very large city and there is no end in sight for its  growth. Residential areas, office buildings and shopping malls are being built constantly. Even a third city airport and a third bridge on the Bosphorus are currently under construction, leading to changes in the birds’ migration paths.

This work is about the Birdmen of Istanbul and focuses on the shrouded relationship between the bird and the Birdman, one full of contradictions of love, possession, and pleasure.


For Birds' Sake 


A deeper look at birds without seeing actual birds but instead listening to them.

Imagery stuffed with representations of birds.

A mutual madness between photographers and Birdmen;

Us, trying to understand this passion fitted into cages, 

and them, trying to understand our urge to take pictures of these ‘ordinary’ cages.


The contradictions of femininity and masculinity.

The feminine caress along with the power of men.

The male birds that sing to call the females 

and the male bird keepers who compete amongst themselves for the honor of being the Birdman with the best singing bird.

The interruption of actual husband-wife relationships,

and the tattoos of the names of wives as a proof of their love for their women.

An escape, 

a life-long journey,

a shadow that is being carried away, everywhere they go.

A father, a lover, a healer.

A fight.

An illegal tradition.

An addiction.

A meditation.

Something they need in order to feel good.

A demanding care.

A gentle touch.

A white box that contains darkness

in order to make the bird sing more beautifully.

A very nice conversation,

a language that derives from birds,

…and two women trying to learn how to listen and speak.