Jovita Sakalauskaitė – Kurnaz, Elvan Özkavruk Adanır “Renouncing Fear and Hopelessness: Talismanic Shirts“

Renouncing Fear and Hopelessness: Talismanic Shirts Up to the spread of Islam in Anatolia, the region of the Turks’ ancient culture, protective talismanic shirts held an important place in peoples’ lives. Individuals wearing them believed they were protected from disease, enemies, oraccidents, and it was thought that if the ill wore such shirts, they would soon recover.Although today this tradition died, many examples of talismanic shirts that were once worn by both men and women can be found in museums.In order for the shirts to gain their magical powers, they were sewn according to strict rules. First, certain fabric – usually white cotton – was cut, adorned with prayer verses, and decorated with magic symbols, and only then was it sewn into an integral piece of clothing. Prayers, Koranic excerpts, poems, incantations, etc. were arranged in squares, triangles, and other geometric shapes.The joint Turkish and Lithuanian artists’ project, Renouncing Fear and Hopelessness:Talismanic Shirts, aims to bring attention to the general problem of violence against women and invites as many women as possible to support one another through asymbolic act – giving an old, unneeded white shirt or blouse. A total of sixty-five women from the Izmir, Istanbul, Anatolia, and Hatay regions in Turkey;the city of Esseno, Germany;and the cities of Klaipėda, Vilnius, and Kaunas in Lithuania participated in the project. The donated shirts were cut up and re-sewn into symbolically protective shirts. The exhibit consists of twenty-one textile artistic pieces – each one tells a unique story.