Leyla Gediz’s definition of Passenger / Yolcu is twofold: the aloof, introvert wanderer and the traveling inquirer. This dual use of the term enables her to examine her own traveling existence through and over geo-political grounds. With a healthy distance from home, and in the neutral space of Roberts & Tilton, she rearranges her impressions of Turkey. The exhibition is both a model observatory of socio-cultural signs, and a painter’s response to the impact of national stereotypes on people everywhere.
Each painting in the exhibition represents a different aspect of life in Turkey, and subjects are held in an uneasy frieze for the viewer’s contemplation; Army Barracks forms an example. A certain type of building, which would have otherwise gone unnoticed, is brought to the awareness of the viewer, crystallized. Here is a chance to seize reality; no more tourists’ attractions. In this respect, perhaps the most ambitious painting in the exhibition is Epaulette, in which a belly dancer is depicted from throat to thighs only. Despite the ruthless spotlight, Gediz attempts to rid her subject of its Orientalist connotations.