A photograph shared by Taner Ceylan on Instagram made me discover Mevlut Akyıldız. In November, I got the chance to have a conversation with him during his exhibition in Tophane-i Amire in İstanbul. His youth which was spent in Kurtuluş turned him into a person who sees the world in a wider perspective. He had both Jewish and Armenian friends back then. They used to wander in İstanbul together. Later, he painted typical Turkish characters to which he was familiar in those periods.

He reveals these typecasting in such a beautiful humor, one gets lost in the paintings. When I visited the exhibition I got surrounded by excitement, I smiled all the time. For example, in one of his oil paintings, that yokel Turkish man with his mustache wakes up in the morning with chubby Fatma who has a pearl neck. The painting is named “Körle Yatan Şaşı Kalkar”*. The man has his one eye closed and the woman is cross-eyed, naturally. In another painting, there are two men and Aysel who are sunbathing. Aysel didn’t forget to put on her lipstick while she is enjoying the beach with her swimsuit on. One of the men has “Armani” written on his swimsuit. Aysel looks at this writing and the men are looking up from Aysel’s feet. “Dost Başa Aysel Cüzdana Bakar”**

*An idiom in Turkish which literally means “The one who lies down with a blind rises up as a cross-eyed”. It can be translated into the English idiom: If you lie down with dogs you will get up with fleas.
**This is an altered version of the Turkish idiom: “Dost başa düşman ayağa bakar” which means “The friend looks at one’s head and the enemy looks at one’s feet.” The altered version means: “The friend looks at one’s head and Aysel looks at the wallet.”