Tuesday, February 7

Deniz Sagdic or the power of transforming garbage into art


A portrait of Sagdic made from plastic caps collected at the Istanbul airport. / AFP

The Turkish artist makes beautiful large-format portraits made from waste to raise awareness about recycling

Rocio Mendoza

deniz sagdic (Mersin, 1982) defines herself as an artist with a sustainable heart. Without a doubt, he marks the rhythm of her plastic creations. In them he takes to the extreme the ability of creators to see art where the rest of the mortals only see vulgarity. Not in vain, the raw material of his inspiration is garbage.

After having stunned international critics with large-format portraits ‘drawn’ with leftover denim or transforming old disused objects into unique pieces, this artist deepens her passion and activism for recycling.

Although in his case it would be more about ‘upcycling’, a fashionable movement that refers to the transformation of an uninteresting object or waste into a product of higher value. In his case, its transforming power culminates in beautiful works of art.

A few days ago, the Turkish creator who has been living in Istanbul for a few years, displayed her talents to see beauty in the waste at that city’s airport. There she has exhibited the characteristic portraits that have so far forged her identity as an artist, in which there is not even a hint of paint.

No one who observes one of them from afar would say so. The nuances in the lights, the textures, the shapes… the works seem to be built with brushstrokes of paint, but in reality they are made from plastic caps, cables, chips, fabrics, ropes and other debris. Only if the spectator gets closer will he be able to appreciate the virtuosity of this technique.

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But, as is often the case in art, beauty is always the pretext of a creator; if not the message. And Sagdic’s is said loudly. Its works house the enormous amount of waste that a ‘monster’ like the aforementioned Turkish aerodrome, the busiest in Europe, with 36 million passengers a year, is capable of generating.

The cables, bottles, caps, microchips, fabrics and other waste used by the artist come from the agency that manages airport waste, the IGA Istanbul Airport Waste Systems Center, which collects 120 tons of garbage every day.

The impressive portraits assail travelers in the corridors of the airfield to capture their attention with the visual game, but also to stir their ecological awareness. Where would those millions of colored bottle caps that make up the beautiful face of a woman go?

How to get the raw material

At the beginning of her career, the artist has stated on occasion that it was not easy for her to get companies or institutions to provide her with the raw material for her works, that is, the waste, and, in the end, she found herself like “a crazy artist always searching through The trash”.

However, he has been able to verify over the last few years that “sustainability awareness” is on the rise. «I have seen the increase in the number of institutions and people who contact me to provide me with materials. I receive calls and messages from dozens of people a week offering me materials. In fact, most of the time they tell me their ideas about what kind of artworks I could make with these materials. They tell me that I inspire them and share their photos of what they do with recycling,” Sagdic told a local Turkish media recently.

His latest exhibition where he gives prominence to this waste that “he intends to bring back to life”, which was presented under the title of ‘0 Popint Zero’, could have a second version shortly; the artist plans to exhibit her art at the next World Climate Summit, 2022, scheduled to be held in Egypt next November.


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