Library of
Design, Art and Idea

Sunay Akın and Istanbul Toy Museum

17.02.2015
Vol. 2

In his work titled “Homo Ludens“, Johan Huizinga demonstrates that game is the beginning of all which belongs to humanity . First, there was game! And game, throughout history, continued its existence as the fundamental element of culture in every aspect of life. Huizinga expresses that in emergence of all important forms of collective life -worship, poetry, music, dance, wisdom, science, law, struggle and war- game has played an extremely effective role, but with the onset of modern eras when game has forfeitted its life enriching factor and cloistered in its current narrow space, we see that we have begun living lives more difficult to endure, colorless and monotonous, we disgracingly believe that economic power and interests determine course of the world, we work worshippingly and produce, and the feeling of plain self-interest as well as the ideal of bourgeois comforts affect our mentalities. In our societies there is no longer a place for game, it was shunned out of life's fullness and has been discarded to a corner as material for the industry...

Yes, following Huzinga’s expression to the point, to playing or to see the toys we play... Perhaps owned in childhood or longed for, to meet the games and toys we dreamt. .. We are on our way to the İstanbul Museum for Toys... The museum on the Doctor Zeki Zeren Street in Göztepe is invaluable and splendid as a pure white pearl... we are confronted with real-life sized giraffes at front of the mansion museum in garden, and upon entry, our tale hero Keloglan(baldlad) is looking with a smile as if to say "welcome", and our journey begins. We pass through as if entering a book of tales, the cafeteria at the lower floor is also a part of the tale...every detail has been considered, you are in the midst of game... everything is litsy bitsy... In the midst of everything littleish, just as the big heart possessed, stands Sunay AKIN with enormous body. In a manner of speech I have always addressed and witnessed many doing the same: “Sunay AKIN . To everyone, every person, humanity and to life always akin"... Negative feelings do not exist in Sunay AKIN, obviously Sunay's destiny and works were forewritten and these feelings were especially not added in conception. Century old or "antique" toys in Sunay's museum provides ideas about humanity's areas of interest, derams, feeelings, even period of techonology. Having devoted all and time to searching and finding toys, and having done incredible research on each consuming volumes, finding the story on each, and if it can be put witttingly, Sunay who has evolved into a "toy professor" with a child's excitement gives explanations on each, offers volumes of information while showing around the museum! Brewed tea on table at the tale Cafeteria, steaming Turkish bagels(simit) with cheese, although I know, but for the readers of BOX IN A BOX IDEA Magazine, we began our chat: You are underlining the importance of meseums dear Sunay, what is a 'museum'? It is the name of 9 beautiful daughters of Muses residing on Mount Helicon. Another name of Muses is erato or "fairy of inspiration" and in French it is the name their home "musee". The meaning of museum originates from that. In other words museums are places where inspiration lives. For this reason I 've been screaming 'museum' for years. More the number of museums in a country that enlightened it is. Democarcy, culture of coexistence and freedom is only possible in societies with museums. If you noticed, advanced countries have museums. We demand rights of democracy and freedom, we do not read many books but want our children to do so. There is love of reading in societies which possess museums because people are inspired to read and research when they visit museums. A country's heroes emerge not from the "Valley of Wolves" but from the valley of book worms. What's fundamental is the museum, countries rise on their museums. You speak of carrying the world in your pocket as a child, how did this thought develop? You know, my dad was a tailor. I loved visiting my dad's tailor shop. My dad also brought work to home and he used to cut and sew. I used to collect cloth left overs. In my childhood there used to be Mid-Atlas, a book with a map on each page. I used to put that book on the table and used to think that whichever country had the geometry of a cloth piece was that country. I used to put all representative cloth pieces in my pocket. I used to think that I carry the world in my pocket. These were the types of games I would play. This may have been due to creative thinking. Everyone speaks of this or that game they used to play as children. None of mine resemble any of those. I used to make my own games. And I still believe that I carry the world in my pocket, in mermaids and flying carpets. If there were no dreams there would not have been any realities. Those who know Sunay Akın would know the reason why a museum was established, but for the readers of BOX IN A BOX IDEA Magazine, let's hear it again. Why a toy museum? You know, this is my life. Those who have read my books would already know. Because toy museums are the museums of dreams and imagination. Dream is first, reality always follows. In art and science dream is first and is followed by reality. For progress we must first ride the horses of dreams. On the Pegasus... Doesn't Pegasus carry inspiration to the world and poets? The white horse with wings, we must primarily protect that. Toys are evidences of their eras and periods of their production. "Indians" may be no more in the Americas but today you can enter a room and see the life styles of First Nations from 100-200 years ago. After Hitler's ascension to power, in 1933 he first manufactured toy soldiers and German children played with them. Then, in the 2nd World War these children replaced those toy soldiers. 100 years ago stone dolls and porcelein dolls could only enter the homes of the wealthy, manufacturers used real human hair on those. Do you know to whom those hairs belonged to? Mothers in poverty used to sell their hair to doll manufacturers for bread and milk for children. Hair cut for obtaining child food are attached to a toy, toy goes to a rich home, child of that family plays with the toy and combes doll's hair. Those dolls are here. Now, this the museum of what? Only toy museums can describe life. Show me the toys of a nation and I'll tell you where they come from and where they are headed. This is not fortune-telling, this is belief that in this life all have born of dreams.
OK, when and how İstanbul Toy Museum was established? What was the purpose? Happiest hours of my life, happiest moments were always in museums. I've visited hundreds of museums and still do becausemuseums are shrines and temples of knowledge. In societies with museums, democracy can evolve. In other words, European countries richer, better developed than us did not get wealthy first and later erected museums. In Europe, museums were established first and they walked those halls where every step was filled with information and reached today. 20 years ago I had gone to Nurnberg city in Germany as a invitee to an literary event. I heard that the city had a museum for toys. Early one morning I went to that museum. Museum opened, I entered and I was only able to leave it by closing time. It had much effect on me...Because, history of toy is the history of dreams and imagination. On that day in the museum I realized one thing, humans first dreamt and later actualized it and the toy is its evidence. After Nurnberg, I visited toy museums in many European cities. Toy museums is a new subject for the last 40-50 years. But finding the toys for a particular period is very difficult because once given to a child it begins breaking down and later it is discarded. In the history of objects, in other words in the history of articles, most valuable are toys. Previosuly Turkiye had no notion of this. As a country we were missing out on another thing. We were falling late on another thing. While visiting toy museums I thought 'why shouldn't be one in my country?' and decided, I said "I'll build one". On my own, I invested every hard earned penny of my copyright royalties from my books, stage acts, TV programs on these toys. We became one of the successful toy museums of Europe and the World. İstanbul Toy Museum was opened on 23 April 2005 in a historical Mansion which is owned by my family in Goztepe, It is 8 years old and It is one of the third in the best toy museum in the World. What criteria do you use in selecting toys? Prior to the establishment of the museum, I researched the history of toys for 4-5 years. There are many publications, books on this subject, I read those. First I learned the history of toys. Well, everyone has an old toy at their home but these old toys do not mean they could be museum pieces. There are criteria and evaluation of toys for placement in a museum. For example, an important criterium is that toys must belong to the original toy manufacturers. Naturally I investigated these... Also, reaching at these are not easy. These toys are not sold casually. Such toys are generally found in collectioners. Buying toys from collectioners is like asking for the hand of their daughters and very difficult. Collectioner must like and trust you, must be convinced to give his toy to you. Furthermore, these toys are expensive but money alone is not enough to acquire them. Collectioner must believe that the toy is going to the right place. We lived all these hardships one by one for each toy. For a paintings museum to be a fine and distinguished museum, works of the Turkish and world masters must be present there.. As these works increase so will the value of your museum. In the history of toys there are brands equivalent to these master painters. We exhibit here rare examples from first toy manufacturers like Lehmann, Gunterman, Fleischmann as well as Arnold, Schuco, and Marx. Do the toys in the Toy Museum have a story of their own? Of course, each toy and the factory which manufactured it has a unique story. How do you assess the relationship of toy and child? In advanced and civilized countries, toys are given to the children for development of imagination. In backward countries toys are given to children to occupy them. While countries giving toys to their children for the development of imagination manage the world, societies which belittle the toys and only give them for meager occupation of their children are forced to wait at the gates of those countries. The role of toys in the development of child and civilization is that great. Today, mostly computer games are played. Child playing with a toy is the hero in the game, assigns the leading role to itself. Child writes the game scenario. But, child playing with computer games can not go beyond being a figurine of the game composer. Child no longer has self imagination, is captivated in someone else's game plan. But with a toy, child pursues self imagination. What kind of future do you imagine? I dream of a Turkey with more museums, stored memories. The 1923 reformation is the crowning of Anatolian enlightenment. I want a country where this is understood and explained. Chickpeas are fine on their own, let them be as is, beans are also beautiful let us call the beans as beans. Wheat is also splendid, may it live long. So are the figs, and filberts too. But I want a tasty Turkey where all these are boiled together into a ashura pudding. That taste of Ashura, its beauty should not be destroyed. Let us not lose this large cauldron called Anatolia. For this reason I want the happiness of my own children for all the children of my land. In other words, I oppose the notion of 'let there be apocalypse after I'm gone'. I never favor those who say 'let the undermost crush ' . I believe that my personal desires, pleasures and expectations can only be actualized in a Turkey which has really become an information society and where the number of daily words used have increased. Having received most of my expectations from life, everything in my country being drawn into darkness does not make me happy. For this reason, with all my material and spiritual resources I endeavour for the enlightenment of my country in this way. I trust all that I have done is a guarantee of my sincerity in what I've said a little while ago.
Vol. 2
Offices Act for the Nature with Green ... Yanılsamalı Söyleşiler