Tesselaar Tulip Festival Turkish Weekend brings joy to Victoria

Tesselaar Tulip Festival – Turkish Weekend was organized by the Australian Turkish Cultural Platform (ATCP) at the Tesselaar Garden in Melbourne and was aimed at showcasing Turkish culture, informing and entertaining attendees and serving as a scientific, artistic and cultural resource. It was held in Silvan on Saturday and Sunday 13-14 September 2008 with the participation of over 10,000 people. In 2005, the first Turkish Tulip Festival Weekend created great interest in the Turkish and Victorian communities. This year, thanks to wide support from VMC and loyal sponsors, Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Turkey, Australian Multicultural Foundation, Tesselaar Bulbs, Commonwealth Bank and Printmode, the event has now proved to be a major tourist attraction.

During the festival, participants had the opportunity to experience Turkish culture with an in-depth festival program, which included displays, artwork, crafts, books, music, Turkish food, children’s activities tent, Turkish folk dances and performances by Turkish Music groups, Nasreddin Hodja (the master of Turkish humorists), Ottoman Army Band costume display, a fashion show and a pair of stilt walkers carrying Turkish Flags. Throughout the event there were live performances, and visitors observed, watched, read material, saw movies and participated in hands-on activities to experience true Turkish traditions.

Channel 9’s ‘Garden Gurus’ program, Turkish Radio and Television (TRT) news station, Australia Post TV, and UBI Vizyon TV recorded the festival activities and broadcasted it, allowing millions of Turks and Australians to witness the festival’s colourful events.

ATCP, which worked very hard to prepare the festival, received a lot of appreciation from the participants for organizing the event. ATCP members began to welcome guests early on Saturday and Sunday mornings and distributed leaflets and complimentary Turkish delight to the visitors. Visitors were served Turkish tea, and many of them formed long lines to receive another one.

The festival’s program was so packed that the stage was rarely empty. More than 10 bands and dance groups attracted a lot of attention with their performances.
The shows were performed by ATAM Music Group, Ekol School of Arts Dancers, Group Ezgi, Ozden Isikser, Ozlem Bellydancing School, Turkay Ilicak, Unified Gecko and Zevku Seda Turkish Music Group. These fun-filled shows attracted a lot of attention from festival goers. Thousands of people who were wandering around among the tents gathered to watch as the ATAM Music Group entered the area at 2 p.m. on Sunday. The choir received an extended round of applause after its performance. Julia Christie, a Medical Scientist in Melbourne, expressed her satisfaction over watching the magical choir. “I stopped eating when I heard choir singing. It was very exciting and colourful. It makes one really excited. It was a very beautiful show.”

Turkish Marbling, which was known as “Turkish Paper” for centuries in the western world, was demonstrated by two artists one from the Republic of Turkey. Ms Esengul Inalpulat, one of the leading Marbling artists in Turkey, whose Mastership has been recognized by the Ministry of Turkish Republic Cultural and Tourism, demonstrated her amazing art over the two days. Associate Prof Nur Demirbilek of Queensland University of Technology, who has worked on Turkish Decorative Arts for over 20 years, showed various techniques of Turkish Marbling, provided information on its materials and history, and answered questions related to this traditional and interesting art form. Turkish Marbling has been practiced in Istanbul for over five hundred years. Its tradition it is passed on from generation to generation by a master. It was used extensively for decorative purposes like in the binding of books and within calligraphic panels, and also as a background for official documents and signatures to prevent erasure and forgery. Each Ebru is a unique print and is prepared in the traditional way, using materials such as natural earth pigments that are resistant to fading due to light, and brushes made of horse hair and rose sticks. During the festival, the artists created various designs by sprinkling diluted pigments containing a few drops of ox-gall onto the surface of a special liquid in a special tray. The floating colours on the surface of the size were manipulated and patterned by the help of needles and combs. These patterns were then transferred onto the paper by carefully laying the paper over the bath and removing it gently.It was then dried and smoothed. Visitors were fascinated by the demonstrations and some participants had the opportunity to try a hands-on workshop supervised by the artists and leave with their own personal artwork.

Dr. Süleyman Berk, a famous calligrapher in Turkey, attended the Tulip Festival to demonstrate Turkish calligraphy. He has worked under the Mastery of vey well known calligraphers from his teenage years and after receiving his PhD in 1999 he was awarded by the Turkish Mministry of Culture Tourism in 2001.He has had five books published on calligraphy. ‘Hat’, the translation of the Turkish word for calligraphy, is line or way and the ‘Hattat’ is the name given to the calligrapher. Although calligraphy is not of Turkish origin, the Ottomans mastered it as an elegant and decorative art form over 500 years. Dr Berk’s exhibits, both in Arabic and Latin scripts, stunned the visitors as they queued up to have their names inscribed on Turkish marbled papers prepared by Esengul Inalpulat.

Award winning Turkish miniature artist Ms Gülay Pelin, recognized as one of Australia’s most distinct miniature artists, exhibited her very fine and intricate art work during the festival period. Her unique and contemporary art charmingly bridges Turkish miniature art from past to present. Visitors were delightedly captivated with the delicate paintings prepared using very thin brushes, water colour and 23 carat gold pieces. Ms Pelin provided people with information on the history of Ottoman miniature arts and the materials used, answered their questions, and worked on one of her pieces to demonstrate the art.

The Turkish Fashion show also attracted much attention during the festival. Models appeared in the garden in the afternoon and were immediately surrounded by a large crowd. Jill Morgan, Executive Officer of Multicultural Arts Victoria, said that “The Australian Turkish Cultural Platform is to be congratulated on working creatively
with the artists in the community to ensure Turkish Culture has a professional
platform and remains strong within the Australian Turkish community, as well as being respected in the wider community. The performances and the art and culture of the Turkish Community, was very professional, especially the Fashion Parade, which
was spectacular and was a very welcome addition to program, as well as to the
vibrant multicultural arts scene in Melbourne. Through the presentation of such unique cultural activities and performances, Victoria’s Turkish community and the Australian Turkish Cultural Platform will continue to have a profound and stimulating effect on the cultural landscape of Melbourne.”

In the meantime, Mr Ibrahim Yazar, from the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism lent significant support to the festival. The Turkish Ambassador to Australia, His Excellency Mr Murat Ersavci, delivered a speech at the festival thanking everyone for their contribution, especially the Australian Turkish Cultural Platform members. He said he was very happy to see that Turks in Australia had not forgotten their culture and traditions.

Head of the festival committee, Ms Hilkat Ozgun said that the event’s goal was to make the voices of the Turks in Victoria be heard by the entire world. “We are working on introducing our country to Victoria, the world’s multicultural capital. Our festival proved our efforts right with the participation level and its colorfulness. Many people who had no idea about Turkey requested help from us, saying that they would pay a visit to Turkey at their earliest convenience,” she added.

Ozgun said preparations for the festival began six months ago with the efforts of a group of Turkish and Australian volunteers from all parts of Victoria.

At the end, the hard working volunteers, sponsors and distinguished guest enjoyed a cup of Turkish coffee and Turkish delicacies.

The Festival Organizing Committee is grateful for the participation of the other Turkish community groups and thankful to the thousands and thousands of visitors who made the Turkish Tulip Festival Weekend a success.

Tesselaar Tulip Festival – 4. Turkish Weekend PHOTOS


Comments are closed.