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CHEKMECELER, derived from çekmeceler the Turkish word for “drawers,” defines a unique collection of artistic vessels—drawers, so to speak—that together express a rich diversity of perspectives on Karagöz, Turkey’s centuries-old Shadow Puppet Theater. Rooted in the exploits of the Everyman hero Karagöz, and Hacivat, his more sophisticated foil, the themes expressed have survived the passage of time to become timeless. In recognition of this, Karagöz is acknowledged today as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage.

As an experimental collective of global artists, our goal is to present Karagöz to art-lovers around the world in innovative and exciting new ways. Filtered through the philosophies of both the East and West, we interpret this singular cultural artifact through a myriad of lenses—performance, the visual and plastic arts, literature, video, stop-motion animation, storytelling, music, and graphic design. The platforms in which Karagöz is explored and celebrated are equally diverse, including exhibitions, workshops, regional cultural productions, and both national and international festivals.

We take nourishment from the treasure trove of tradition to create a dynamic synthesis designed to both express the spirit of the day and propel Karagöz into the future.

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