'Art creates a peaceful city'

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  • 11:54 28 February 2024
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MERSİN - Stating that the social, political and economic crises in the country can be overcome with art, Mersin Theatre Association Chair Salih Yıldırım gave advice to politicians before the upcoming elections with the words "Art creates a peaceful city".

Mersin Theatre Association, founded by four theatre groups coming together in 2013, has been trying to contribute to the artistic life of the city for years. Today, there are 12 theatre groups within the association, which has been jointly producing solutions to the problems encountered in halls, decor, actors, repertoire and technical materials since the day it was founded. Mersin Theatre Association President Chair Salih Yıldırım, who is also the General Art Director of Theatre Agon, gave information about their work and reminded the importance of the need for art.
Yıldırım stated that, as an association, they have provided many technical equipment such as costumes, lights and decorations to nearly 25 private Theatre groups, apart from schools and associations, in order to develop and spread art in Mersin and that they also arranged halls for these groups during their tours to different cities. Stating that they were able to provide these as a result of the protocols they made with the municipalities, Yıldırım said: “We organized festivals extending to the villages with the municipalities and international festivals. We have held 7 festivals so far. We will organize the 8th this year. We will bring people together with Theatre through the festivals we will organize. Of course, we do all our work jointly with theatre groups,"
Yıldırım complained that although they have undertaken many joint projects with municipalities so far, they have not been able to stage theatre plays in municipal halls for a long time due to the election process.
Emphasizing that municipalities should have a positive approach towards theatre groups in the city, Yıldırım also listed his expectations as an association. Yıldırım said: “First of all, there should be an understanding of municipalism in which the concept of 'I' towards groups carrying out artistic activities disappears. The perception of 'If you are with me, you are exist' must end. This is actually the biggest problem that groups face. If the common goal is to serve the public, this situation can end with some protocols. Again, all municipal halls are closed to events due to election propaganda. Everything was left until after the elections. However, municipalities should create alternative areas. Again, if municipalities want to serve this public in the field of art, they should work with people who understand art.”
Drawing attention to the healing role of art on individuals and society by saying, "Art creates a peaceful city," Yıldırım added: "Over the years, there have been many cases of young people committing suicide. I want to say this; In a place where a city or a country has collapsed spiritually, any service you can offer to the public has no meaning. In other words, make as many roads as you want for a person who is disconnected from the world, that road will have no meaning. At this very point, art is a point that connects people to life, it is a connecting point, it is a lifeline. So, if you cut that bond, there is no possibility of getting that person back.”
Stating that the country has experienced social, cultural and economic crises, especially in recent years, Yıldırım underlined that in these conditions, people need art as much as eating bread and drinking water.
Stating that they saw and experienced such gains in the workshops they conducted, Yıldırım said: “We can also reintegrate individuals who cannot express themselves to the society or who have a criminal record. They cannot do this with prisons, but we can do this with art. Prisons are just gathering areas for the people we mentioned, but art opens different living spaces for those people."
Yıldırım also pointed out the upcoming March 31 elections and made opinions and suggestions regarding the local government approach.
Yıldırım said: “Social transformation can only occur through art. Do we want a healthy individual or a sick society? First of all, they should ask themselves this question. Then the service they provide will have more meaning."
MA / Ergin Çağlar