Connecting Turkish and Korean Traditions

Message from Australian Turkish Cultural Platform:

Hilkat Ozgun

A memorial in Seoul commemorates the sacrifice of the Turkish Armed forces in the defence of South Korea during the Korean War 1950-1953. The bravery and heavy loss of life suffered by the Turkish Brigade created a bond between the two countries. “CONNECTIONS” aims to cement this bond of friendship between Turks and Koreans that has lasted over fifty years.

The Australian Turkish Cultural Platform and the Melbourne Korean Artists Association have come together to extend to the hand of friendship. Through a shared cultural event we are showcasing to all Australians the contribution of women to peace and harmony. We aim to achieve this through time-honoured female skills such as music, art, craft and fashion. It is important that these traditional skills are preserved for future generations. Another aspect of this commemoration is the sharing of traditional foods. Food has long been significant in binding families and extending hospitality to people from other cultures.Australia has also been recognised at the Korean War Memorial and many Australians will be eager to attend this event and learn of the contribution that women can bring to the comradeship between Australia, Turkey and Korea.

“CONNECTIONS” is an opportunity for all of us to renew that friendship through the contribution of the women of Turkish and Korean origin who have made Australia home. Everyone is invited to share in this cultural event organized by women from two diverse communities who share a common goal, creating greater understanding and tolerance of different cultures and assisting in instilling core Australian values.

I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation to Mrs Soomee Kim, President of the Korean Artist Association Melbourne (KAAM), for sharing her tremendous culture with us for this event, Mrs Julia Christie, the facilitator of this project, whose brainchild was this project and who was instrumental in bringing together the two communities, Mr Harry Blackley, always a friend of Turks, for helping me in every possible way, Diane Soumilas, Gallery Coordinator, and Gallery staff, for their tremendous efforts with planning and preparation, the artists exhibiting their works, the Victorian Multicultural Commission and  Glen Eira City Council for their sponsorship, Mr Aydin Nurhan, Consul-General of the Republic of Turkey for his continuing support, PrintMode and AGprint for their generous assistance with printing, all my committee members for their cooperation, and everyone else who assisted in the organisation of this exhibition, including my dear husband Sinan for his technical assistance with putting together the brochures and invitations.


Australian Turkish Cultural Platform


Message from Korean Artist Association Melbourne:

SooMee Kim

It is with great pleasure that I join with Hilkat Ozgun in introducing the “Connections” Art Exhibition. This is an exhibition of the work of Turkish and Korean artists, most of whom have made Australia their home.

The special significance of this exhibition is that, not only will the wider Australian public experience the unique qualities embodying traditional Turkish and Korean art, but also the younger generation of these two communities can feel pride in their cultural heritage.

This exhibition will allow all visitors to experience the great bond of friendship between the two nations, born of a shared ancestry. There is a lesson for us all in seeing how a strong friendship can be forged between two countries that are separated by distance, language and creed. This event is a celebration of this enduring connection and showcases multicultural Australia in practice. These cultures, together with that of the original inhabitants of this country, are what have created a strong and proud Australian identity.

Our hope is that “Connections” will serve as a catalyst for further exchange between the Turkish, Korean and Australian cultures, and also act as a blueprint for other cultural exchange projects between other immigrant groups.

We acknowledge Hilkat Ozgun, President of the Australian Turkish Cultural Platform, for coordinating the “Connections” project. We would also like to thank the Victorian Multicultural Commission, the Glen Eira City Council and Julia Christie for their support for the project.


Korean Artist Association Melbourne


Julia Christie

It is an honour for me to be associated with the Connections Project, and a pleasure to see this Art Exhibition come into being. This Exhibition is a celebration of traditional and contemporary art of two proud cultures; the Turkish and the Korean. We are fortunate to view the work of such extraordinarily talented Korean and Turkish artists who were invited to exhibit by The Project. We could not have had a wonderful Art Exhibition such as this without gifted artists, but we could not have had THIS Exhibition without the dedication and hard work of two committed women from these two migrant groups. My friends Hilkat Ozgun and SooMee Kim, are passionate about the cultures of their countries of origin, and proud of their people. It is this pride and passion which allows them to work tirelessly for their communities, so that not only we older Australians can learn more about their cultural heritage, but so that their youth can also feel this respect and pride.

Cultural diversity is the cornerstone of modern Australian society and this exhibition is a wonderful example of this diversity. All racial and religious differences can be overcome if we acknowledge the pride each migrant group has in their heritage and culture, and that this does not diminish their love for their new home, but in fact makes them better citizens. Without respect for our own, and others’ traditions and histories we cannot move forward as a confident, strong, and united Australian People. Let this “Connections” Art Exhibition fill us all with pride and joy in our differences and our similarities.


Project Facilitator

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