Turning a blind eye to our "home-grown" artist: Attribution to Malik Aksel in the 100th years of folklore studies and his contributions to visual folklore Görmezden geli̇nen "evi̇mi̇zi̇n ressami": Folklorun 100. yilinda Mali̇k Aksel ve görsel halkbi̇li̇mi̇ne katkilari


Milli Folklor, vol.12, no.99, pp.113-126, 2013 (Scopus) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Review
  • Volume: 12 Issue: 99
  • Publication Date: 2013
  • Journal Name: Milli Folklor
  • Journal Indexes: Scopus, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.113-126
  • Keywords: 100th Anniversary of Turkish folklore, Folk pictures, History of folklore, Malik Aksel, Visual folklore
  • Ankara Haci Bayram Veli University Affiliated: Yes


To use the power of the image for the purpose of understanding the history of culture, making sense out of it and transferring it to future generations, is not something we are used to in the land we live in. Visual folklore, which became popular in Europe during the 19th century, was noticed at a much later stage in Turkey. In this context, there is a need to review the history of folklore discipline, and the attention it paid to its visual concepts. In European folklore studies, the visual ethnology field was accepted as an exciting area of study from the outset. One of the reasons for this delay was not because we did not notice visual folklore but we ignored the ones who noticed it. Therefore, we need to re-read the history of folklore in Turkey taking into account the attention it paid to visual folklore studies. Malik Aksel was a painter and a folklorist who witnessed the early years of the Turkish Republic and who discovered the power of visuality. He and his work deserve to be reassessed. When we review Malik Aksel and his work we can see three main themes. First, he attracted attention to visuality when no one else was interested in folk pictures, religious pictures, and wall pictures. Secondly, he approached the relationship between art and folklore holistically. He did not look at this with an orientalist point of view and he synthesized Eastern art with Western art. Thirdly, he was able to transform the traditional folk pictures and art to modern art by drawing Anatolian people, inside their houses, festival fields, and traditional occupations. Therefore his work has to be remembered as a resource for visual and critical studies of folklore.