Erkan Özgen
Erkan Özgen’s works are mainly video based installations. He lives and works in Diyarbakır in the Southeast of Turkey. In 2016 Özgen was awarded the “Polarized! Vision is War/Peace” prize for his film “Wonderland”. It shows the narration of a boy from the Yazidi minority, who survived an attack by the Islamic State on his village in Iraq. Özgen is one of the founders of Loading Independent Art Space established in Diyarbakır in 2017.
In the video titled Purple Muslin, Erkan Özgen gives a voice to the Yazidi women living in the Ashti refugee camp in Sulaymaniyah, in Northern Iraq. The Yazidis form a pre-Islamic minority whose roots go back to 2000 Bc. The Yazidis were denounced as infidels by Al-Qaida in Iraq, a predecessor of ISIS, which sanctioned their indiscriminate killing. ISIS continued this terrible operation, which can ultimately be described as genocide In his work, Özgen primarily explores the impact of violence and war on the collective and personal lives of those have been affected by these brutal actions. Purple Muslin examines how female Yazidi refugees cope with their traumas and memories of violence. The video features a series of interviews in which the women recount their personal experiences of war, suffering, and migration. These touching fragments of their testimonies are stringed together by a common action where different women kneel down to carefully lay a symbolic personal object on a silk material, honoring their loved ones who have died.