The mighty Bosphorus, is a vibrant and turbulent River, as unpredictable as the seething Turkish City of Istanbul. Bobbing along on the commuter ferry, clutching a fish roll that cost AUD $1.50, I crossed the imaginary line from East to West, or Asia to Europe. Istanbul is a city of contrasts, medieval turkish bath houses, and gigantic, iconic shrines of Hagar Sophia proportions . The Grand Bazaar is a labyrinth of streets, a maze of stalls, and a brash collection of hawkers all exhorting you to enter their shops. Turkish Delight, stuffed camels, brass, garishly coloured ceramics, and handicrafts abound. Its a vibrant, alive, city summed up perfectly by the Whirling Deverishes, a local iconic, folk act who twist this way and that in their exuberant, native dance .Home to myriad stray cats and dogs ,homeless and itinerant locals, Istanbul has a pulsating energy, and irreverent view of life .
Stumbling down the main street, I chanced upon the Galata Greek Primary School, one of the venues of the 13th Istanbul Biennial. Titled ” Mom Am I Barbarian “it included many artists, exhibiting in a diverse range of mediums spread over the entire six floors of the venue, including a roof top terrace . The space included short films about abandoned dogs and african miners, intricate drawings, installations and a whole lot more. The exhibits were free, the catalogue a measly $5, and the entertainment priceless. One of my favourite presentations was a series of altered books by a Portuguese Artist, Carla Filipe, who used books damaged by moths to create her altered book series. I spent many fruitful hours gazing at the exhibits, and gleaned a lot of visual stimuli. It ended my visit to Turkey on a high note and I hope, one day to return.