Cv & Background
Diren is a backpacker interdisciplinary artist who follows the guidance of the journeys in their life and artworks, as being impressed by Beat Generation. During their travels, they invented an anti-elitist gallery concept in a guerilla way, its called “Art Space Project”. Since Diren started this Project in a village of Fethiye in 2016, more than 30 art spaces have been established. Diren takes these paintings to the next city in their backpack, sets up new street exhibitions and gets new drawings, Art Space Project is an interactive exhibition that works for the accessibility of art and grows constantly. Diren has also presented an Online Exhibition for everyone else. As being impressed by the process they had spent in Ancient Greek department at University of Istanbul in 2016, Diren left the school and hichhiked to the ancient cities and temples. Then they started to study Sculpture at Marmara University Faculty of Fine Arts and Philosophy at the University of Istanbul as a second degree in 2017. Therefore “Paganism” and “reinterpreted ritual” concepts have been evident themes on Diren’s artworks. Because of the political situation, most of their artworks are also based on activism and disclosure practices.
In 2018 they designed a project as a solution for disabled people whose can’t able to access to the cultural places and galleries, it’s called ”Non-Barrier Art Map“ which has been chosen 1.st Project of the “Art and Culture” category in HEG social responsibility project competition. In 2019, Diren’s Project ”Produce for Art“ which is based on developing reuned village schools by providing assistance and materials to fine art students whose can not afford their art ideas, has been chosen as the best in “Art and Culture” category again.
Diren’s literary works are mostly related to “LGBTI+ History” and “Art” topics. In 2018, they translated “S.T.A.R”. (”Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries“, Sub Press) to Turkish. In 2019 they compiled the book “A Night of June: Biographical Analysis of the Stonewall Riots” (org: “Bir Haziran Gecesi: Stonewall Devriminin Biyografik Çözümlemesi” , Kaos Çocuk Parkı Publishing). In the same year Diren was selected for the artist in residency program conducted between the European Union and Turkey, called “Be Mobile, Create Together”. With the support of the Netherlands Consulate, Diren produced conceptual performing artworks and photo series at the Rast Theater in Amsterdam.
In 2020, during the quarantine period, Diren performed live performances in collaboration with Performistanbul. They presented series of seminars about LGBT + history on various of associations and communities. Diren is one of the participants of the “Contemporary Art and Curatorship” programme carried out in cooperation with the Open Dialogue Istanbul and Akbank Art Center. After their graduation, they curated the exhibition project “Aesthetics of Struggle”, which brought together the works of activist artists in the same gallery. In October 2020, Diren has selected as a participant for “Yazıhane” programme carried out by Narmanlı Art Center in collabration with Aica NL and Sponsored Netherlands Consulate General. Diren has been awarded by Akbank Art Center with the 38th Akbank Contemporary Artist Prize for their interactive installation “Beyond the Wall”. Since June 2020, Diren has been presenting their radio show “Wild Side” on Radio Modyan featuring avant-garde/queercore music from LGBTİ + artists on every Sunday night at 10pm.
2018 – HEG Social Responsibility Awards, 1.st of “Art and Culture ” category.
2019 – HEG Social Responsibility Awards, 1.st of “Art and Culture ” category.
2020 – Akbank Art Center, 38th Akbank Contemporary Artist Prize
1 August 2020 / 1 September 2020: “Remains of a walked path” Online Solo Exhibition at the Art Newspaper (Gazete Sanat)
15 October 2020 / 21 November 2020: “38th Today’s Contemporary Artists Exhibition” Group Exhibition at Akbank Art Center (Akbank Sanat) (Video Link)
24 June 2021: Through The Window Online Group Exhibition
28 October 2021 / 12 November 2021: “Leftovers of a Body” Solo Exhinibiton, Center424 Belgrade, Serbia
9 November 2021 / 13 November 2021: “On the Road” Solo Exhibition, Magacin Culture Center, Belgrade
11 December 2021 / 17 December 2021 : “Arcade”, Group Exhibition, BantMag Havuz Gallery
03 May 2022 / 07 May 2022: “Protection Spell” Solo Exhibition, Tartu Estonia
13 June 2022 / 20 June 2022: “Do No Go Out of the Window”, Online Group Exhibition, Haze Gallery, Berlin
19 August 2022 / 21 August 2022: “Under the Bridge”, Kunstbrücke am Wildenbruch, Berlin
20 September 2022 / 15 November 2022: “Kein schöner ___ in dieser Zeit”, Group Exhibition, MigraNetz Thüringen, Suhl, Nordhausen, Saalfeld
1st / 2nd October 2022: BAAM Group Exhibition, Monopol Gallery Berlin
25 October 2022 / 30 November 2022: “Archive of Disobedience” Solo Exhibition in Deutsches Literaturarchiv Marbach
8 December 2022 / 01 January 2023: “Natural Reflections” Lichtkunstfestival Group Exhibition by Artspring, Milchhof Berlin
14 / 21 January 2023: “Fixing What is Broken” Group Exhibition by Academy in Exile, Apartment Project Berlin
25 / 26 February 2023: “Im Sinne des Kiezes” Urbane-Praxis Berlin
“Aesthetics of Struggle” – 10-11-12-13 July 2021, Akbank Art Center
“Colours of the Future” – 9 January – 5 February 2022, Gazhane Museum, Co-Curator
“Other Monuments” January – February 2023, Berlin Mondiale, Im Sinne des Kiez.es
“REVOLT: An Archive of Resistance” 5 April – 15 April 2023, Zemin Berlin Gallery
Workshops and Seminars presented by Diren Demir:
11th February 2020: “A Night of June: Biographical Analysis of the Stonewall Riots” for Lambda Istanbul LGBTI+ Association at Şişli Manucipality of Istanbul
11th March 2020: “A Night of June: Biographical Analysis of the Stonewall Riots” for Lambda Istanbul LGBTI+ Association at Şişli Manucipality of Istanbul
13th May 2020: “Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries and History of Early Age LGBT+ Associations” Online Seminar for Lambda Istanbul LGBTI+ Association
8-15-22-29th October 2020: “LGBTIQ+ History Workshop Series” for Yüksek Oda, Online Workshop Series
10-11 December 2020: “Queer Mythology”, Narmanlı Art Center
20-27th Febuary, 6-13-20-27th March 2021: “From ancient ages to present: LGBTIQ+ History Workshop Series” for Ayrinti Academy
28th – 29th May 2021: “Queer Mythology”, Online Workshop for Lummunity Platform
21st May 2022: “Queer Mythology and LGBTIQ+ History” Lecture at the Pallas University of Applied Sciences
1st February 2023: “Gentrification and Queer Exile in Istanbul” Lecture for Kulturwissenschaftliches Institut Essen
18 June 2023: “Gentrification and Queer Exile in Istanbul” Lecture for ACC Gallery Weimar
28 October 2019, Rast Theater Amsterdam
31 May 2022, Academy in Exile, Frei University Berlin
15 September 2022, The Salon, Kulturschoepfer Berlin
20 September 2022, “Kein schöner ___ in dieser Zeit”, Saafeld
10 November 2022, University of Duisburg Essen, as part of the Aurora University Network Biannual
23 February 2023, „Berlin’s Art Production in Exile and at Risk: Strategies of Self-Fashioning“ Art Space in Exlie, Berlin
02 June 2023, As part of the 6th Berliner Herbstsalon GEZİ – TEN YEARS AFTER, Gezinema World Cinema Documentaries, Maxim Gorki Theater, Berlin
18 June 2023, International studio program of the ACC Gallery and the city of Weimar
2017 – continues: Marmara University, Faculty of Fine Arts – Sculpture
2017 – continues: Istanbul University– Philosophy (Second degree)
2020 – continues: Anadolu University, Photography and Camera (Associate degree)
2021 – 2022: Pallas University of Applied Sciences, Sculpture
(Erasmus Exchange, Spring Semester)
2010 – Theatre Certificate – Sarıyer Culture Center
2018 – 200 Hours Sivananda Yoga Teacher Training – Hara Yoga Vedanta Center / Yoga Alliance
2019 – 200 Hours Multistyle Yoga (Hatha/Vinyasa/Kundalini/Ayurveda) Teacher Training – So Shanti Yoga, India
2019 – Sound Healing Therapy Course – Kaliash Yoga School – Dhramshala, India
2019 – Robotic Coding Teacher Training – Marmara University
2019 – Art Direction – Bahcesehir University (BauArt)
2020 – Contemporary Art and Curatorship – Akbank Art Center, Open Dialogue Istanbul
2021 – Cinematography – Anadolu University
2022 – Building StartUp – Tartu University, Estonia
2023 – Art Therapy – Istanbul University / SEM
2017 – Qnushyo: Diren was an art teacher for refugee children from Syria.
2017 – I Will Be Free Project: Children whose born inside a prison in Turkey, can’t go outside for a certain time.
With the accomandation of Bilgi University Faculity of Communication, Diren has drawn murals of images from
outside world to the interior walls of prison.
2019 – Qnushyo : Diren was a volunteer yoga teacher for refugee children from Syria.
2019 – Community Volunteers Foundation: Diren was a volunteer of Human Library Project
2019 – Istanbul 2019 Pride Week: Diren has been participating as a volunteer organizer for the 2019 Istanbul Pride Week Exhibitions and also Social Media commission.
2020/2021: Lambda Istanbul LGBTI+ Association
2018 – “S.T.A.R” ”Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries“ (Sub Press) – Translation
2019 – “A Night of June: Biographical Analysis of the Stonewall Riots” (Kaos Çocuk Parkı) – Compilation
2020 – “Street Poems Anthology” (İmgenin Çocukları) – Participatory Poet
2020 – (BMTC) Be Mobile, Create Together Artist’s Book
2020 – Akbank Art Center 38th Contemporary Artists Exhibition Catalogue
2022: “Hail to the Fallen”, KÇP Publishing (Poetry & Illustration)
RESIDENCY AND RESEARCH PROGRAMMES:
November 2019: “BMTC, Be Mobile Create Together” Artist in Residency Programme, Rast Theather Amsterdam, NL
2020-2021: “Yazıhane” Art Writers Programe, sponsored by Netherlands Conculate General in collobration with AicaNL.
October-November: “Belgrade Artist in Residency” Programme, Serbia.
May – August 2022: “Artist in Exile” Artist in Residency Fellowship by Freie Universität Berlin and Universität Duisburg-Essen.
February – May 2023, 28th International Studio Program, ACC Gallery and the City of Weimar
Ayşegül Güçhan – Marmara University, Art Management
Billur Tansel – Contemporary Art and Curatorship, Director
Was born in 1997 to a Kurdish-Turkish family in Istanbul, Diren focuses on destroying the toxic-masculine culture or creating transforming solutions in their artworks. The theme of “disclosure” can be seen frequently in Diren’s works. Bio-politics and the body – dictatorship relationship are one of the areas of conflict when Diren use the context of disclosure. They usually use the “pure existence” of their own body relating it to the public nudism.
Reinterpreting ancient rituals, records of ritualistic / meditative ecstasy or eclectic witchcraft is also a part of Diren’s performance practice; Diren is closely associated with Paganism.
As a sculptor who likes to work with concrete materials, Diren creates forms in which they can relate to their body, and it can be seen that Diren refers to a physical object in the center or in the context of their performances. In Diren’s artworks, remains of the performance usually stays as a sculpture.
As an artist working in the public space, Diren creates new ways of encountering and new ways of communicating with the audience. So the art / action space is often the streets where Diren can easily find the participation and interaction they need. One of the main purposes of Diren is to change, reconstruct or sometimes destroy social codes. Therefore, the liberating aspect in which Diren places the audience in the new ways of encountering and interactive spaces are the major factors. Diren continually explores aesthetic ways of doing this within the framework of community and participatory art.
In addition to the queer-themed work Diren uses the body context while demolishing stereotypical gender prisons; at the same time, Diren aims to de-genderize the memory of the place and the city by frequently referring to the history of LGBTIQ+ in their writing and research work.