This post is from a series of deeper dives into the work of artists contributing to #TezQuakeAid. For more information on how you can support the relief efforts, click here.
Damla Sahinbas is an experimental photographer based in Istanbul, Turkiye, where they studied photography and video at Yildiz Technical University. Their primary motivation in creating art is to explore the lived experiences and socio-political perspectives of themselves and others. Their work has been part of several exhibitions and was published into a limited photozine series in 2021 by Faz Collective.
Damla grappled with their own sexual identity and orientations early in life. Giving people the space to be themselves in their "safe zones," which became the foundation for much of their future works. The gender inequalities and social norms imposed by Turkiye's strict policies continue to be a source of motivation for them to keep creating.
Damla's art, which they describe as digital documentaries was the first part of the journey. Eventually they started working with film photography and experimenting with the film development process in the darkroom. It was in the darkroom that Damla could experience self-realization, finding purpose and beauty within the destruction and recreation of the images. What started as a social effort during the early days of the pandemic, soon evolved into a deeply personal story that was told through the photos they took while telling the story of their mother.
Through this journey of exploration with photography and the Tezos community, Damla has found an audience for her art and a place within the Tezos Permanent Collection. Her #TezQuakeAid piece, "Canan, we are free now." was purchased by Misan Harriman and raised 1,000 XTZ for the earthquake relief efforts.
"Until two years ago, it was a very tiring process for me to work on existences that people refused to see and be part of the art community. So it's very exciting to be able to exist within the NFT community after working so hard for both myself and other's visibility. Like every artist, I'm a person who runs between emotions and falls into despair from time to time. I owe a lot of my motivation to continue producing even in those times to Misan Harriman and Animus."