Derya Akay: Meydan

Derya Akay takes inspiration from public squares in this new installation occupying the gallery’s main floor.  A meydan in Turkey is a town centre that serves as a market place where the exchange of goods becomes a lively space of social encounters and mutual aid. Through various sculptural displays, as well as interventions into the gallery structure itself, Akay alludes to the ad-hoc conditions of provisional markets where distinctions between interior and exterior spaces are fluid. As in previous works, the artist takes to heart how galleries can also be gathering places of communal and intercultural exchange with food sharing and collaboration. A palpable sense of the artist’s presence throughout the installation suggests an imaginative space of production similar to that of an artist studio. The accumulation of everyday objects on display are further evidence of  open-ended and iterative processes. While favouring salvaged materials and deskilled gestures, Akay also appreciates craft traditions, integrating artisanal objects like handblown glass, ceramics, and textiles.  A type of living artwork, Meydan is always in a state of flux that will evolve over a three-month period, as fermentation progresses, flowers dry and seasonal fruit displays are added. In addition, throughout the exhibition Akay will offer complimentary food items for takeaway. Watch for ongoing changes to the installation and plan to visit the artist who will be working in Meydan, primarily on Thursdays.

About Derya Akay
Derya Akay (b. 1988, Turkey) is an artist living on the unceded territories of the  Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh and Musqueam Nations, colonially known as Vancouver, BC. Akay received a BFA from Emily Carr University in 2010.  Select exhibitions include Contact Traces, Wattis Institute, San Francisco (2021); The Neighbour’s Plate, Unit 17, Vancouver (2020); The Lulennial II: A Low-Hanging Fruit, Lulu, Mexico City, (2018); Ghost Spring with Dilara Akay, grunt gallery, Vancouver (2018); HERE, Aga Khan Museum, Toronto, (2017); with bread, Campbell River Art Gallery, (2017); Pumice, Del Vaz Projects, Los Angeles, California, (2017); Ambivalent Pleasures, Vancouver Art Gallery, (2016); Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner & Supper, Centre A, Vancouver, (2014).  In 2017 Akay had a Fieldhouse residency resulting in the publication, Mantı, Börek, Baklava, with the Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver and is represented by  Unit 17, Vancouver..

Meydan is the fourth in a 10-year commissioning program of new public artworks installed at The Polygon Gallery, in collaboration with the Burrard Arts Foundation.

Listen to episode 17 of The Polygon Podcast, featuring Derya Akay in conversation with educator Stephanie Bokenfohr about Akay’s exhibition Meydan.

Listen to the exhibition audio guide

Image credit: Derya Akay, drawing for Meydan, 2021