ONLINE LECTURE: Revisiting Mihri Hanım (1885-1954): A Woman Painter in the late Ottoman Empire

24 June 2021 19:00 to 20:30 | Online

The seminar will be held via Zoom, please register for details, thank you.

A BIAA Online Lecture by Gizem Tongo (British Institute at Ankara) and Discussant: Ahmet Ersoy (Boğaziçi University).

Thursday 24th June 2021 | 17:00-19:00 (London UTC+1) | 19:00-21:00 (Ankara UTC+3) | Online

Perhaps no painter of the late Ottoman Empire left more of a mark on women’s art and art education than Mihri Hanım (1885-1954). Born in Istanbul in 1885, Mihri was one of the most technically accomplished portraitists of her time, producing vivid and richly coloured portraits of individuals both within and beyond her elite circle that suggest her often female sitters’ agency. Having been instrumental in the foundation of the Academy of Fine Arts in Istanbul (1914), she also served as its first woman director and a painting instructor during the First World War and the Armistice Period. This talk, drawing on contemporary material from the period (art reviews, interviews, archival documents, and artworks), focuses on her artistic production and active role in the Istanbul art world during the final decade of the Ottoman Empire and explores the reasons—political or otherwise—behind the previous relative neglect of her work in art-historical discourse and museum practice and her recent reinstatement and high profile in Turkish cultural memory.

Gizem Tongo is a post-doctoral research fellow of the British Institute At Ankara (BIAA) and also a part-time lecturer at the Department of Architecture in Middle East Technical University. Gizem holds a doctorate in Oriental Studies from the University of Oxford, St John’s College, where she was a Lord Dulverton Scholar and later a lecturer and Barakat Postdoctoral Fellow. The general focus of her research is the cultural history of the late Ottoman Empire and she is particularly interested in the relationship between war and culture during conflict and its aftermath. Gizem has also been involved in co-curating and consulting for exhibitions, including Mihri: A Migrant Painter of Modern Times (2019) at Salt Galata Istanbul.

Ahmet A. Ersoy is Associate Professor at the History Department at Boğaziçi University, Istanbul. Ersoy works on the history of the Late Ottoman Empire with a special focus on the changing role and status of visual culture in a period of modernizing change. He is the author of Architecture and the Late Ottoman Historical Imaginary: Reconfiguring the Architectural Past in a Modernizing Empire (2015). Ersoy’s recent research involves the entwined histories of photography and print culture. His publications include “Ottomans and the Kodak Galaxy: Archiving Everyday Life and Historical Space in Ottoman Illustrated Journals,” in History of Photography, 40/3 (September 2016).


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