Library of
Design, Art and Idea

Circassian Villages

16.02.2015
Vol. 8

I know you will find the photos to be very desolate and in ruins. For the reason, that is what I precisely want to tell. Our villages, where we used to play by gathering and going to the neighbouring villages for the weddings and communions in summers, are very lonely in winters. Our uncles, whose watermelon fields that we used to enter at nights for adventure, are much older. Our grandfathers, for which we were waiting not to block their ways at the beginning of the street, were dead long ago. Our childhood friends, who are working in the factories that have dried up their own creeks, do not think anything apart from struggle for bread now.

Actually, we left the soils so alone on which we discovered our identity and left our childhood in every place, and to which we entrusted our paternal and maternal grandmothers. While trying to bring ourselves into being in the big cities, we forgot the places where we had existed with our untainted state. I began the Circassian villages’ project last summer. I'd say it is the most precious project with the most sentimental value for me. I spent my childhood in the village and I think that I am very lucky for that. The village culture is very different in my opinion, having characteristics to take shape by itself. Besides the difficulties, too much freedom is harboured in itself. The project was actually on a very thin line. I got some response, telling me not to be a chauvinist. In fact, everything is completely as they are. Just revealing what there is. Apart from the introductory article I wrote at the beginning, it is comprised of the stories all of which were told by the very old people. It is what it is. Last summer, I went to the village (to Karaçalılık village which is the first village in the project) to stay my at grandmother's house for a while. It was my first time since I lost my grandmother, actually it was a little bit confrontation. I spent a lot of time there. I have been thinking for a long time to make a series, however, it took another shape during my visiting days. First, I realized there are a lot missing things upon that much of the population is older and in an abandoned situation. And then, it made me so depressed to realize how much the new generation disconnected from the previous generation. Because Circassian village has very special harmony on its part. And you take a form in it without understanding and knowing. There is a very strong element of respect. You cannot across the street when you even realize an elderly advancing at the beginning of the street. You stand up, if any one, no matter they are woman or men, enter into an environment. The door of the houses are never locked which is deemed as disrespectfulness to the neighbours. There is a balance between man and woman. You grow Abhazya Anhua up in confidence and friendship tightly intertwined with the opposite sex.
The weddings usually starts in the evening and ends in the morning. If the wedding is in another village, the youth of the village takes girls to the wedding by renting a bus and visiting the houses one by one to get permission from the families of them. Not to give permission to the young boy who is at the door is deemed as disrespectfulness and not welcomed. If there is a wedding or a funeral in a village, it belongs to the entire village not to that house. All of the young people and the village are organized. Gathering together before the wedding, the young people distribute the duties among themselves from the dining service and the committee to welcome the guests to the houses at which the guest will stay. The weddings end up in the morning and zexes, the meetings, are made in a house or in the village coffee house till the dawn. Some games are played at the meetings. Kashens (can also be said as cavalier or boyfriend) joke and chat with each other. The elderly do not interfere and are not involved in these meetings. They never interfere in that controlling can be thought to be disrespectfulness. Even if it is village, everybody is neatly dressed. It is not possible to see someone in nightdresses or pyjamas as long as you won't make a surprise visit. When a girl guest comes to the village, the boys of the village bicker with each other as mise en scene, giving punishment to one another, joking and holding meeting to pay respect to the guest. The same thing applies to male guests, of course. In the villages, you can not realize class distinction. Flaunt is considered to be shame. All weddings and festivals happen in the gardens in the same way. Houses look alike. The biggest shame is the violence against women. The sharpest penalty is ostracization, that is, the social exclusion. So many things that can be comparable to this. I can write pages and pages, but I could tell that much briefly. A third object was added to the project last month as well. As you know, these villages were driven from the Caucasus. And the villages, relatives and graves of the grandfathers of most of them are in the Caucasus. A lot of people returned and live there. But those staying here wonder and long for there. And those living there wonder their relatives living in Turkey. I went to the Caucasus with the sponsorship of Bandırma Mayor Dursun Mirza. The regions that I used to live, my father used to live, his grave is there, and my brother is living there now. Therefore, it was a very trip in that I have a full command of the languages. I found and photographed the village, Penexes, from which my village, Karaçalılık village came from, and Penexes from which a few of villages came from, the other village, Psenif, and yet another village, Anhui of Abkhazia, some of its people came to settle in Düzce. Thus, the project turned out to be a bridge in the Caucasus. While exhibiting their photographs in their own villages, I can exhibit the villages from which they came and the places they have longed for. In the same way, I will do the same thing in the Caucasus. It was a project that I enjoyed so much and sometimes have economic difficulties but I've never given up. Since I was raised in this culture and mostly possesses this; the Circassian villages. But I hope that other fellows will have a bash at these kinds of works. Believe me, I'd be very happy. For example, I'd like to see the nomad villages in the mountain tops. When overwhelmed with such a plastic life and confusion, disturbed with that the discourse of the peasantry turns into an action, I find pleasure in persistently saying that the villages are the greatest treasures and in bringing this into the light with the project.
Vol. 8
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