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Abstract

On June 18th, 2007, Ebru: Reflections of Cultural Diversity in Turkey began its ten-city tour of Turkey with a debut exhibit in Istanbul, and ended on March 31st, 2009 with the closing of the exhibit in Ankara. The mixed media project, a combination of text, music, visual images, essays and panel discussions, is dominated by Attila Durak's large-format documentary ethnographic photographs of 44 ethnic groups he encountered during seven consecutive summers of fieldwork throughout Turkey. Durak, who is from Turkey and studied photography in the US, began this project with the initial intention of learning about the cultural diversity of his own country and ultimately, wanting to share what he learned with those same people in the form of a book and an exhibition that would open in New York and Istanbul (Durak 2006). The project's reach has grown considerably since those early days of planning more than seven years ago. This paper explores exhibit goers' responses during Ebru's ten-city tour of Turkey. After a thorough description of the project, I attempt to situate the Turkish public's responses to Ebru by exploring the nature of visual representation as well as evolving attitudes toward cultural diversity in Turkey.

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