We can’t pretend to know what the world has in store for us when we reach out and smile at it, not knowing what we’re reaching towards. I have heard stories of things like how a child might cultivate a relationship with an orca. Adults see them swim together and can only assume that they’ve become friends, somehow, for no reason that we can understand beyond that, sometimes, two creatures have no reason to fear one another. It’s not a law of the world that fearlessness makes you invulnerable, but being unafraid, even through naiveté, can open doors to things worth risking.
Engin Dalyanci’s art is a fearless joy of the sea, like how children are able to play in the water unbothered by giant, changeable dolphins. His is the kind of work that floats lightly on whatever surface you place it. His ceramics, in their variety, compliment any surrounding. In the same way that the sea can never really be out of place, so it is true that Engin has discovered how to make art that belongs anywhere. The fearlessness I mentioned might be what makes it so attractive. The unfazed joy of bold lines and undulating colors and seaside imagery can be seen as childish; it is. It’s a playful, open door back to what we remember of the ocean the first time we saw it.
There’s a kind of universal language available when talking about the sea. As if each and every human being can’t quite help but be attracted to it; we know that joy and can see it in others. All of us are drawn to the water and enlivened by staring into something much larger than we are. We all fall in love with the turbulent energy giving itself into the sand, and stand mesmerized, in total surrender.
Imagery of the ocean tends to always address the consuming tranquility of that repeated oceanside experience, and that surrendering to the sea doesn’t seem to change much from culture to culture. People behave very similarly on beaches, anywhere in the world – we turn back into humans for that moment. Suddenly it’s okay to be naked – vulnerable, suddenly it’s okay to play in the water for no reason, suddenly it’s okay to be happy without knowing why. The sea, and imagery of the sea calls to the inner child, the part of us that remembers what it feels like to be completely satisfied by the world around us.
There is no way of the sea being out of place, it is always exactly where it must be. Engin Dalyanci has channeled that into his work, making his art universal by speaking to the oldest, most youthful parts of us.
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