The seventh ArtAnkara International Contemporary Art Fair in the Turkish capital is attracting thousands of art lovers even under coronavirus restrictions.

Suha Semerci, a mosaic artist, told Anadolu Agency that all necessary measures are being taken to make participants and visitors feel more comfortable at the fair, which concludes today.

“At first, after a year [of the virus] I hesitated to take part in the fair,” he said, but praised the safety measures taken, explaining: “They hand out free masks at the entrance and disinfect the fairground regularly.”

Underlining that this is his first time taking part in the fair, he said he is glad to be a part of it.

“I’m happy that the fair brings pieces with a high art value,” he said, praising the work of young artists.

Some of the works Semerci is showing are part of an Istanbul-themed project which he was unable to show last year due to COVID-19.

In his works, which features unique footstep-shaped mosaic pieces, he tries to present the culture and patterns of the historic city of Istanbul, Turkey’s tourist hub and commercial capital.

Foreign artists send their wares

Although this year foreign artists were unable to come to the fair in person, Hakan Korpi, the chair of Ovoo Art, said they still sent their works.

While giving opportunities to young artists at the fair, he said sales are good despite the pandemic.

“All artists created valuable pieces during the pandemic. It was their most successful and fruitful period. This fair enabled collectors to get to the pieces,” said Korpi.

Contemporary artist Dilek Yalcin said the isolation process actually helped her work.

The days of coronavirus reflected the tones and themes of her work, where she uses the “new requirements of our daily lives,” including masks.

Noting that social media helped them attract more visitors, Yalcin said artists have gotten positive feedback.

“I hope to see more fairs like ArtAnkara,” she added.

Ahmet Sahin, founder of the Portakal Cicegi International Plastic Arts Colony, said the fair got great interest this year compared to past years.

Sahin created opportunities for artists to present work during the fair. More than 15 pieces, including pieces from his collection, are on display.

Semiha Ozer, a painting teacher, said she has participated in the fair for seven years in a row and looks forward to more art events.

Ozer said her friends in other cities and some of her students were unable to come due to fears of the virus.

The fair, featuring painting, sculpture, glass, and installation work from 107 galleries and nearly 1,000 artists, opened its doors to art lovers on Monday.

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