Evliya Celebi exhibition
In May 2010 Maslaha launched 'Evliya Celebi: The Book of Travels', an exciting international collaboration with world-renowned Ottoman experts, Suki Chan - award winning film maker, Royal Academy musicians, the largest private Islamic art collection in the world, and the British Council.
In the 17th Century an Ottoman traveller – Evliya Celebi – was inspired by a dream to embark on a journey across the Ottoman Empire. He travelled far and wide across Europe and North Africa and wrote extensively about his adventures in Seyahatname – 'Book of Travels'.
Explore this exhibition online and discover these travels – of both people and ideas across time and space – through the eyes of Evliya, Lady Mary Montagu, Jean de Thevenot and other adventurers.
These are stories of constant conversations and exchanges between the Ottoman Empire and Europe, through trade in coffee, music, medicine, architecture, and stories of far off but not so distant lands.
This is no ordinary website – our busy team spent a few weeks designing, painting, draping, and building to transform Bethnal Green Library – the site where Samuel Pepys, a contemporary of Evliya Celebi, stored his diaries during the Great Fire of London – into a carefully crafted physical exhibition. The decision to first build a physical exhibition and then digitally capture it to transform it into a virtual experiment means that the Book of Travels is also a technological feat – using two different forms of cutting edge technologies to capture the experience of being in the exhibition in real time and space.
In the 17th century travelling such vast distances would have been no easy feat, yet in many ways these travellers embodied what was happening on a much larger scale worldwide. As we travel through Istanbul, London, Vienna and Cairo, we find that these stories and cities do not exist in isolation, rather they are intertwined and are influenced by each other.
On horseback, by sea, on foot, through your computer monitor, feed your own curiousity and join Evliya and others on their journeys through these worlds.
If you are interested in hosting the physical exhibition, do drop us a line: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Evliya Celebi’s birth really occurs when he begins to travel and write, spurred on by dreams at pivotal moments in his life.
His ten volumes of writing called Seyahatname - Book of Travels - are still being translated, but they provide a unique insight into 17th century Istanbul and the city’s relationship with the wider world including London, Cairo and Vienna.
Evliya’s style of writing was unusual and did not fit any particular genre and mirrors a man who was a complex mix of pious Muslim, soldier, musician, raconteur, and writer.
The team behind this exhibition is perhaps rightly eclectic:the Khalili Collection, largest private Islamic art collection in the world; Royal Academy of Music; Suki Chan, an award winning film-maker who recently appeared in the BBC’s School of Saatchi; Mercan Dede, an international sufi musician and DJ; and a number of leading historians including Caroline Finkel, author of the authoritative Osman’s Dream: The History of the Ottoman Empire.
Evliya’s accounts vividly show the intricate conversations that occurred between what has been described as the Islamic world and Europe, through the eyes of a Muslim. As Robert Dankoff, author of an Ottoman Mentality: The World of Evliya Celebi writes, that to touch the text is to touch the man.
Maslaha is working in partnership with the British Council's Our Shared Europe project to build an online exhibition all about the constant mix of conversations that have occurred between Islamic people, cultures, societies and Europe.
The theme of the exhibition is TRAVEL - both of individuals and also ideas across time and geographical boundaries. In particular, we will focus on a 17th century Turkish traveller, Evliya Celebi, who wrote extensively of his travels to Europe and North African in his book, Seyahatname - Book of Travels.
This exciting exhibition will bring together Evliya's account with European accounts both in his time and two hundred years later using films, music, storytelling, unique archive images and much more.
Just to make things even more interesting, we are building a physical exhibition which we will capture digitally to turn into an online entity.