About the Çanakkale Biennial


Canakkale Biennial Initiative (CABININ) is a Canakkale-based non-profit initiative formed by the cooperation of collaborators from various fields and occupations. As a platform for contemporary artistic and cultural production, CABININ organizes and supports national as well as international events, and mainly the Canakkale Biennial, based upon social benefits and responsibility. Over the years, the participation in and support of a large and inclusive international network has increased as a result of enhanced involvement and interest of the local populace. Programs that target different social groups such as children, young people, disability groups and women are an integral part of every activity to secure active participation and involvement.

The initiative established by the Canakkale Biennial is aimed at integrating contemporary art into the everyday lives of citizens and creating an environment where art becomes a platform for democratic debate through its unique language. The conceptual frameworks are developed in order to target the contextual intersections that link the historical, cultural and geographical specificities of Canakkale with actual global paradigms.

The 5th Canakkale Biennial with its title “Homeland” (Anavatan, Heimat, الوطن, الأم, Patria, πατρίδα) focused on the imagery and visions of the idea of homeland, which are bound to 20th-century nationalism and its after-effects. The biennial was not seeking to limit the issue of migration to what is happening in the Middle East today, but to express the universal idea of being “torn apart” from one’s homeland through the delicate and empathetic works of 42 artists.

But less than three weeks prior to its opening, CABININ was deeply saddened by developments of a political agenda that aims at making art instrumental to real politics. Beral Madra, the art director and the co-curator of the Biennial since 2013, voluntarily left her position due to this intervention. In this circumstance where art was eclipsed by discourses that excluded it, and due to the sensitising atmosphere that the country was experiencing, CABININ declared that it lost its ability and enthusiasm to carry out the biennale in line with its most vital values, and sadly announced the cancellation of the 5th edition of the Canakkale Biennial on the 5th of September 2016.

CABININ will continue to represent its values, built upon the hard work of hundreds, and of the city, through maintaining its practices in the artistic field. The 6th edition of the Canakkale Biennial will coincide with the Year of Troia 2018, that celebrates the 20th year of the admission of the archaeological site of Troia to UNESCO’s World Cultural Heritage List. This will be an opportunity to position Çanakkale's cultural heritage at the centre of a multicultural, multinational and multi-disciplinary dialogue that will resonate with our shared values and common future, through the universal language of the arts.
If the universal language of art is unable to influence the shape of the new global paradigm, then our world will come to an end.

Seyhan Boztepe
Founder and general director of Çanakkale Biennial

Funding Authority

Organising Institution