About Nail Çakırhan and Halet Çambel

Nail Çakırhan was born in 1910 in Gökabad (District of Ula, Province of Muğla) which is today’s Gökova. He attended elementary school in Ula, Gymnasium in Muğla and the High School in Konya. 12 years old he started to write poems. With 13 he wrote the first handwritten newspaper in Konya and with 18 he published the first ever printed magazine in Konya. When he was 19 he enrolled to study medicine in Istanbul but left the university to devote himself to journalism.

24 years old he went to the Soviet Union to study political economy. After he returned to Turkey in 1937 he was occupied with journalism, selling books and accountancy. 1951 he went to Karatepe-Aslantaş to help his wife, who lead the excavation and restoration works in Karatepe-Aslantaş. He took on some of the construction work, developing and supervising the building of the roof sheltering the excavation location,  the offices of the Forestry Deparetment, the elementary school, official residences and of the atelier. This occupation opened the way to his further intense productivity. He died on 11.10.2008.

Prof. Dr. Halet Çambel was born in 1916. She attended the American College and finished her studies at the Sorbonne. In 1940 she became H.T. Bossart’s assistant at the Istanbul University. Çambel, who established the professorship for prehistoric sciences together with Karl Bittel, has been competently involved into the for educating of  many young scientists.

 For Çambel, communal education has always been very important therefore she transformed the work at Karatepe-Aslantaş,  which played an important role for the understanding and decoding of the Hitite-Language, into a public project. One of Çambel’s greatest achievements have been the work on „Çayönü“, the oldest settlement of mankind. Parallel she lead the excavations of Pişmiş Kale, the Midas city, Karatepe-Aslantaş and scientific research on the prehistory of south eastern Turkey and a project to rescue Keban.

The Nail Çakırhan and Halet Çambel Art and Culture House opened in 1998 with a glamorous celebration. Quite a number of well known people from the world of politics and art have been among the participants of the festivity, like Tarık Akan, Ali Özgentürk, Mümtaz Soysal, Oktay Akbal, Ilhan Selçuk, Mina Urgan, Şadan Gökovalı and Oktay Ekinci. After the opening Nail Çakırhan gave the management of the exhibition house to the Association of the Friends of Gökova-Akyaka to be used for cultural and artistic activities.

Especially the wooden ceiling of the, carefully and masterly constructed building, exemplary for Nail Çakırhan’s famous Ula Architecture, is a pleasure for the eye. The walls of the exhibition room comprise almost completely of windows, letting the light enter from all directions. The building was constructed in the garden of the famous Ağa Han award winning Çakırhan House. The ‚museum’ which firstly opened with a photograph exhibition of Nail Çakırhan’s work,  was used afterwards for all kind of art and gained regional and even nationwide popularity within a short time.

This season, like every year, it will be a meeting point for all people interested in art with biweekly alternating exhibitions shown between May and October.

We invite all art lovers to use the chance to meet the artists themselves, present during their exhibitions and to discuss their art and their workswith them.