Mustafa Agatekin and the Concept of Belonging



Duyga Kahraman Ceramics Art + Perception 109 2018 Art + Perception Home

If you know who walks alongside you, You will not feel so alone.1

Survival and the instinct to hold on to life, has kept man alert since the beginning of time. Belonging to a family, society, institution, or having an awareness of descendance, helps man feel safe, and can be summarized as “the feeling or awareness of the individual to a community, a part of society or a social group”1. This feeling springs from the need for existence, being safe, holding tight to life; a resolve unchanged since primitive human beings lived on the planet. The harsh effects of natural catastrophes, and the war for individual survival, prompts people to live together combining their forces against nature and therefore providing support in numbers.

Although social structures have changed throughout the ages, everyone maintains his/her life through the ‘feeling’ or the ‘knowing’ of belonging. To ‘belong’ is an instinctive desire and an important aid to mental health and well-being. The need to feel safe from known or unknown uncontrollable external factors cause’s people to push further in search of ‘belonging’. Feelings of ‘not belonging’ often stem from relationships and/or childhood. For us to gain (or regain) a sense of ‘belonging’, emotional bonds are necessary.

“In this parallelism, belonging causes the description of subjective values according to the beliefs and tendencies individuals have by getting involved in a group.”2

Artists may be influenced by history, politics and the environment. War, the social changes after war, depression; pressure on the individual, anxiety – all these things can determine the work an artist makes. The concept of ‘belonging’ has also been a subject many artists have explored – as well as loss. This was particularly pertinent for artists following the immigration and cultural identity crisis experienced after World War II.

It is remarkable that artists have presented a pluralist approach with new possibilities and options, where the works artists have created since 1960s re-question the subjective, social, cultural concepts and values about life, and usually question the subject by referring to art tradition in the works of the artists.
In the 1960’s and 1970’s the concept of identity was examined in works of art; it was redefined, and the existing definition of artistic identity was reexamined.

This concept has not dissipated since the 60s and has been one of the main subjects of exploration for the artist Mustafa Agatekin, the results causing audiences to question where and to whom they belong.

Each of Agatekin’s works can be read as the pages of a diary, turning them into transparent witnesses of time. Of the work titled Sakli Atlas Agatekin says:

Places to which our origins stick and where we come from or will go, and our experiences determine our belonging. If people get away from their origins, it means they will lose their belonging. I made a reference with a body beyond recognition in Sakli Atlas. It is a body in the moment, it is destroyed, metamorphosed and transformed with external interferences. It is a body which gets lost in its own atlas …

Despite technical differences, each material is within its boundaries, however; in this technique which I call ‘ceramics in glass’ the synergy of differences is the case.


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