The city’s denizens know very well that autumn is the pinnacle of culture and art events in Istanbul. Wandering around biennials, festivals, panels and art fairs that pop up all over the city, it is easy to lose your way and stumble upon a jazz concert, watch a good movie in the cinema or walk into a group exhibition in a small gallery... Here is our small list of the season’s highlights. Clear your calendars, the unmissable events of the coming months are here!

Film Ekimi / 7 – 16 October 22

We make a hasty start to the month with the captivating program of the 21st Filmekimi Cinema Event, organized by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture & Arts. With award-winning titles, brand-new discoveries, and special selections from the most influential directors of cinema, Filmekimi delivers cinema lovers a difficult schedule to choose from. Heavyweights include Claire Denis’ Cannes Grand Prix-winning Stars at Noon, Michel Hazanavicius’ comedy Coupez!, which also premiered at Cannes, and Cristian Mungiu’s latest release R.M.N.

The 90s Onstage / 15 September 22 – 12 February 23

One of the must-see events of the season is Salt’s The 90s Onstage exhibition, which opened to the public in September. This is an archive exhibition that recounts the cultural climate of Turkey between 1988 and 1999 based on a performance concept that takes the audience on a historic journey into art and entertainment. The exhibition includes live performances to video clips and television programs that go beyond the decade and extend into the early 2000s.

Akbank Jazz Festival / 29 September – 9 October 22

It is never too late to get your dose of jazz. As one of the longest-running and most acclaimed music festivals in Turkey, Akbank Jazz continues until 9 October. 32 amazing concerts are scheduled for music enthusiasts in venues such as Zorlu PSM, Postane Istanbul, Akbank Sanat, Babylon, Istanbul Toy Museum and AKM.

Istanbul Biennial / 17 September – 20 November 22

Organized by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (IKSV) since 1987, the Istanbul Biennial is back with its 17th edition. Keeping contemporary art in its focus, the biennial will be hosted in 12 different venues in Beyoğlu, Kadıköy, Fatih and Zeytinburnu, as well as unusual appearances in a bookstore, a second-hand bookstore, a hospital, a nursing home, a cafe, a radio station and several subway stations across the city.

212 Photography Istanbul / 6 – 16 October 2022

Dedicated to creating a sustainable art and culture tradition in the city, 212 Photography Istanbul is now in its fifth year. 212 Photography is the city’s most comprehensive international photography festival with a multitude of auxiliary events including workshops, interviews, panels, film screenings, and portfolio reviews while also reaching out to disciplines such as literature, dance, cinema, music and gastronomy in unique venues.

Beatz By Girlz / 4 – 6 November 22

Beats By Girlz is a music and technology initiative that supports young women in Turkey who want to tell their own stories through music. This is their music and technology event that respects gender equality. This November at Bomontiada, Beatz By Girlz will host DJ performances, workshops, debates and many other events free of charge to bring a brand-new festival to the city that keeps equality, inclusivity and unity at the forefront.

Agnes Denes ‘Living Pyramid’ / 13 September 22 – 29 January 23

Visiting the ‘Living Pyramid’ installation at the Sakıp Sabancı Museum on a balmy autumn day is highly recommended. Ecological art pioneer Agnes Denes’ work has a site-specific and natural life cycle, coming across as a metaphor for our relationship with nature. Seeds were planted in the pyramid on September 10-11 with the help of many volunteers. Together we will witness their development into grass and flowers.

Ivy / 14 October – 1 December 22

Curated by Başak Şenova, the ‘Ivy’ exhibition spreads across three venues: Zilberman Istanbul, Zilberman-Project Space and Zilberman Selected. The artists include Heba Y. Amin, Omar Barquet, Burçak Bingöl, Yane Calovski, Ramesch Daha, Memed Erdener, Didem Erk, Fatoş İrwen, Zeynep Kayan, Azade Köker, Bronwyn Lace, Marcus Neustetter, Cristiana de Marchi, Larry Muñoz, Maarit Mustonen, Egle Oddo, Erkan Özgen, Bochra Taboubi, Cengiz Tekin, Simon Wachsmuth, and Verena Miedl-Faißt/Nirual Kenabru whose work deliver interconnected cross-references in space, time, region and mind.