Mehmet Ali Diyarbakırlıoğlu


State Fine Arts Academyc High Painting Department

Painter. He was born in Gaziantep in 1946. His grandfather is Diyarbakırlı Hasan Pasha. When his grandfather went to Antep with his brother for work, he settled in Diyarbakir after marriage and when the Family Name Law passed, he took the Diyarbakırlıoğlu as family name. Hasan Pasha Public House which is at the opposite of Diyarbakir Ulu Mosque belonged to the Grandfather of the artist. But when he died in Çanakkale Wars, his grandmother was all alone in the midst of Antep defense with four children; and could not keep the documents and lost it. The properties of Pasa were transferred to the foundations.

Diyarbakırlıoğlu was born as the third member of a family with eight children in Gaziantep; and lived his childhood and youth in this city. During his primary, secondary and high school years; he also had to work. His experience in different jobs such as copper, processing, weaving, bobbing, foundry and his father's occupation saddling, were the determinants of his art in his life. With the support of his painting teachers Nevzat Arı during the secondary school years; his first oil paint exhibition was opened in 1962 at Gaziantep Turkish-American Cultural Association, and his second exhibition was in Sanitary Museum in 1964. He has also designed many theater stages during his presence in Gaziantep.

Although he faced several economic problems, he kept on chasing the painting passion. In 1971, he had a chance to participate in State Fine Arts Academy examinations with the support of his journalist friend Cevat Sönmez and was accepted in High Painting Department. He has completed his training at the workshop of Prof. Neşet Günal. He was married to Fatma Hanım whom he met in 1977. He has a son who was born in 1980.  He worked as a painting and art history teacher at Istanbul Mecidiyekoy High School for a short while. He completed his 18 months long military service at Ankara Central Headquarters and started to work as a journalist which he conducted until his retirement. He has won 9 different awards for the sport photographs he took. With the photograph he had in a basketball game, he won the first prize in Turkish Sports Writers' Association; so a prize was awarded to a branch other than football for the first time.

The project he designed in the beginning of 1990s, with the name "Lost Occupations" was the main theme in many exhibitions he opened; so had a chance to combine his childhood experience with his art. With his works created around the theme "Lost Occupations", Diyarbakırlıoğlu  has reflected the Anatolian culture in a very good way and also had a pioneering role, archiving many facts of the culture that were erased from the social life. This theme on which he worked with patience has inspired a series of works in printed and visual media, focusing on these occupations and the last experts of these occupations. He has opened 15 individual painting exhibitions on this subject between the years of 1994 and 2012. He participated in eight mixed exhibitions.

Diyarbakırlıoğlu is a very unique artist within the Turkish Painting at the end of 20th Century, when modernism was intense in all branches of art. There are naive parts in his works, but he cannot be evaluated fully within this group. His patient work on the decorative elements in his paintings is remarkable.

He kept his connection with Southeastern Anatolia after he settled in Istanbul; and we see yellow, red and brown colors from the steppes of that region in his paintings. Artist uses one of them as main color and the others as auxiliary colors; and he uses other colors to contribute the form and can be considered as a "formalist" painter. Since his graduation from the Academy; he includes the light in his paintings with a different method; sometimes local and sometimes as scattered. We can see the impressions of Rembrandt and Velasquez in his paintings where the light is diffused from a single source.

We see the life of workers within the daily life in his compositions. Along with this, the characters are always neatly dressed and smiling in the paintings despite all the troubles they face. This is in fact an expression of the respect of artist to the people he painted. Along with his works themed "Lost Occupations"; his pastoral paintings such as "Bağ Belleyen Kızlar", "Tandır Başı Sohbeti", "Yün yıkayanlar", "Acur toplayanlar", "Patlıcan oyan kadınlar", "Buğday çekenler" focus on streets, public houses, portraits with a great expertise. These compositions are those scenes that we can see anywhere, but painted with a perspective from the artist's own past and experiences. As Diyarbakırlıoğlu revives the streets he walked in, the people he spoke with, the works he had done and the tools he had done in his paintings; this brings his work a dimension just like a folk poet and his songs.

He was retired from sports press in 1994 and has a permanent yellow press card. He is the member of Journalists' Association of Turkey, Turkish Sports Writers' Association, Gazientep Journalists Association, Association for the Preservation of Turkish Nature and Anatolian Side Gaziantep Association and he lives in Istanbul. 

REFERENCE: Ressamın ‘Meslek’ Aşkı (Türkiye Gazetesi, 22.11.2007), Kendisinden alınan bilgiler (February 2013), İhsan Işık / Diyarbakır Ansiklopedisi (2013).

Dükkânı Sırtında (2004)

Hasan Paşa Hanı'nda Çay (2003)

Takunyacı Memik Usta (1997)



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