No one painted such a beautiful Anatolian Women as him… Rest In Peace, Fikret Otyam…
Famous Turkish painter, journalist and author Fikret Otyam died on Aug. 9 at the age of 89 in the southern province of Antalya. His wife, Filiz Otyam, said Fikret Otyam would be buried in Antalya, after a funeral to be held at the Hacı Bektaş Veli Cemevi, in accordance with his wishes.
He nevertheless fought a hard battle for life, Filiz Otyam said, adding: “Up until the very last moment he always wanted to work. … Only three days ago we decided to place his paints and his easel in his bedroom so he could continue to paint. … He had plans for a new book; something that would recap all of his previous writings. … He was the most hardworking person I’ve ever known.”
Born on Dec. 19, 1926 in the central Anatolian town of Aksaray, Fikret Otyam started working at his father’s pharmacy when he was six years old. He used to write down stories he’d heard from locals who came by his father’s pharmacy, which he later published as a series in the Gece Postası (Evening Post) newspaper in İstanbul from 1945 to 1946.
He started painting when he was a child, using paints he was given by a signboard painter who once did a signboard for his father’s pharmacy. Throughout his school years, he also took up photography and even opened a photography studio in Aksaray with his art teacher and a friend.
Otyam later enrolled in İstanbul’s prestigious State Academy of Fine Arts, the present-day Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University, where he studied under Bedri Rahmi Eyüboğlu.
58-year journalism career
During the 1950s, while he was still studying at the academy, Otyam started his journalism career, which continued for 58 years until 2014. He worked in numerous editorial positions and wrote articles and columns in the Dünya, Ulus and Cumhuriyet newspapers. Recently, he wrote a weekly column for the Aydınlık daily.
Otyam, a leftist, decided to retire from Cumhuriyet in 1979 following fellow journalist Abdi İpekçi’s politically motivated assassination that same year, fearing his life might also be in danger. After his retirement, Otyam and his wife, whom he married in 1977, relocated to Antalya, where he started focusing more on his paintings.
Otyam’s painting style was largely influenced by artists Turgut Zaim, Namık İsmail and Bedri Rahmi Eyüboğlu. Depictions of veiled Anatolian women and goats are two figures that appear frequently in his paintings, which focus on local aspects of life in the Anatolian countryside. The eyes of the subjects Otyam depicted in his paintings were noticeably large. He is known to have said in an interview once that the three “most beautiful eyes in the world [are those of] East Anatolian women, the donkey and the antelope.”
In addition to exhibitions in Turkey, the Otyams also showcased their works in locations such as Kuwait, Copenhagen, Munich, Cologne and Leverkusen, among others.
The couple’s last exhibition in İstanbul took place in November 2012 at the Çırağan Palace Kempinski Art Gallery. Titled “Hoşçakal İstanbul” (Goodbye İstanbul), the show marked the 60th anniversary of Otyam’s first solo exhibition in İstanbul in 1952.
A ceremony for Fikret Otyam will be held in the Antalya Cemevi (Alevi house of worship) on Monday evening. He will be buried on Tuesday in Hacıbektaş, a town in the Central Anatolian province of Nevşehir, following a funeral in the Hacı Bektaş Veli Cemevi, as he had wanted. He will later be buried in a cemetery for influential intellectuals in Hacıbektaş.
A special ceremony for Otyam will also be held Tuesday at the Çankaya Municipality Cultural Center in Ankara.
“This was what he wanted,” Filiz Otyam told reporters. “He wanted his funeral to be held in [the Hacı Bektaş Veli Cemevi]. A huge painting he once made hangs there; he told me he wanted his funeral ceremony to take place in front of that painting,” she said.
The source: TodaysZaman