Streetwise Istanbul: Seeing ‘Other’ As Self: Cross-Cultural Exhibition to take place in the Atrium, Mullingar

Streetwise Istanbul: Seeing ‘Other’ As Self: Cross-Cultural Exhibition to take place in the Atrium, Mullingar

Streetwise Istanbul: Seeing ‘Other’ As Self is a cross-cultural project that was devised by Irish American author Meghan Nuttall Sayres in collaboration with Turkish photographer Aramis Kalay. The global project will be exhibited at the Atrium Mullingar, in Westmeath County Council buildings from October 19th until November 9th. An opening reception with the Chairperson of the Westmeath County Council, Councilor Liam McDaniels, will be held on Thursday evening Oct 19th from 5:30-7:30 pm.

Meghan Nuttall Sayres is an Irish American author whose paternal great grandmother was born in Mullingar and whose maternal grandmother was born in Fanad, Donegal. Sayres has been traveling to Ireland since 1974 and to Turkey since 1986 and considers both countries her home away from home. Streetwise Istanbul: Seeing ‘Other’ as Self is a recent collaboration with Turkish photographer Aramis Kalay.

This project involved photographing and collecting words of wisdom from everyday people living on the European and Asian sides of the Bosporus over a three-year period. Sayres says of the project:

“Through conversations with merchants, artisans, shoe shiners, and others, ‘Streetwise Istanbul’ strives to foster cross-cultural understanding and to cultivate mutual respect within our communities, schools, universities, and workplaces. In listening to our Near Eastern, planetary neighbors our worldviews may become enriched and widened.”

Sayres has given presentations on this project at the Moore Institute, National University of Ireland, in Galway. Streetwise Istanbul is endorsed by the University of Washington, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations Program, Seattle, Washington, and was awarded a grant from the Turkish Cultural Foundation, Istanbul. In Ireland the exhibition has received assistance from the Westmeath County Arts Office and the Yunus Emre Centre, Dublin.

To date Streetwise Istanbul has been exhibited on both coasts of the U.S. Other venues in Ireland are anticipated for 2024. Meghan will be joined by her interpreters for this project Tuana and Alara Celik, sisters who were raised in Turkey, and who have accompanied her for previous exhibitions and lectures. The Celiks will travel to Mullingar from Amsterdam and Edinburgh.

Streetwise Istanbul Team: Meghan Nuttall Sayres, Tuana Celik, Alara Celik and Aramis Kalay

To learn more about Meghan Nuttall Sayres and Aramis Kalay visit: and sebebimistanbul.aramis.kalay on Facebook and Instagram.

Meghan Nuttall Sayres is a seasoned author, guest lecturer, researcher, and curator of international arts and cultural programs. In addition to Streetwise Istanbul: Seeing ‘Other’ As Self, she organized tapestry exhibitions and workshops in the U.S. for Taipeis Gael, a weaving cooperative in Donegal, culminating in a book Weaving Tapestry in Rural Ireland (Cork University Press, 2007).

Her work has been translated into several European and Middle Eastern languages. Titles include: Anahita’s Woven Riddle (Abrams, 2006), its companion novel Night Letter (Nortia Press, 2013), Daughters of the Desert: Tales of Remarkable Women From the Christian, Jewish, and Muslim Traditions (co-authored, Skylights Paths Press, 2003), Love and Pomegranates: Artists and Wayfarers on Iran (Nortia Press, 2013), among others.

Sayres holds an MPA, International Rural Development and is completing a second graduate degree in Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness at the California Institute of Integral Studies.

Aramis Kalay started taking pictures as a teenager in Istanbul after he bought his first camera with savings from his pocket money. Years later he was invited to write a weekly column “Fotopraktic” for the Turkish daily newspaper Star. He currently works as a freelance photographer and has held workshops in Istanbul, Cypress and France. His work has appeared in New York Times Sunday Magazine, Aremdomento Architecture, Maison Français, among others. Arams has exhibited widely in Turkey, including the French Cultural Center in Istanbul. His work is also held in the Biblioteque National de France, a collection entitled “Shadows.” Please visit him on Facebook and Instagram at: sebebimistanbul.aramis.kalay.

Tuana Celik grew up in Istanbul with her sister Alara, a Turkish father and English mother until the age of 18. She then went on to live in Bristol, Hong Kong, and now Amsterdam, but always refers to Istanbul as home. She works in the field of AI and engineering, but always maintains a close relationship with art and literature which have been a significant part of her upbringing.

Alara Celik grew up in a Turkish-British household in Istanbul with her sister Tuana. She completed her undergraduate degree in Vancouver, Canada, and then moved to Scotland for her postgraduate degree. However, she always feels most at home in the chaos of Istanbul. She has grown to appreciate all the history and culture her hometown has to offer.