Özlem Ayse Özgür

Ozlem’s Artist Statement

My desire to be an artist stems from my belief that visual art is a compelling way to deliver ideas and change society for the better. Hence I also think that an artist has social responsibilities to ask difficult questions, to challenge and rethink conventions. So I see the role of the artist as central to the culture of a modern, critical society, for ours is a society that has institutionalized critique and which does not cease asking questions about itself, about what is desirable, what is normal, and what is to be excluded. I think that this culture of critique is so central to who we are as a society, that without it we would cease to be ourselves. I take art as the place par excellence where this activity takes place, where our intellectual world meets the material world and interfaces with the public. This environment of critique is one of the main reasons I live in the US. I was born in Istanbul, where East meets West. Turkey carries the traces of Ottoman, ancient Greek, Byzantine and Armenian histories and cultures. I have come to embody this environment, and a concern with cross-cultural understanding is at the heart of the work I am doing as an artist and scholar.