Jan 26: Film screening and artist talk with Leyla Toprak (TR)

Weld has invited the Kurdish artist Leyla Toprak for a screening and a talk about her artistic practice. In the evening two of her short films are screened followed by a talk together with- and translated by the artist Savas Boyraz and moderated by Ola Saleh, project manager at the organization Kvinna till kvinna

Leyla Toprak is a dancer and choreographer that recently started to use the medium of film to tell stories about people under political oppression. At the same time, the dance is present with its historical layers in its ritualistic and collectivistic qualities.

In one of her movies, she returns to the folk dance tradition as a cohesive carrying force, were its rhythmical moves together with song is used as a tool for surviving. Her artistic practice reacts and interacts with the political issues that surround her and the dance is always present.

As many artists, she is interested in art as historiography and time document and to find alternative ways for problem definition, resistance, and action.

Distant (2015) is filmed in the Syrian city Kobane, the days after it was liberated from Daesh by the Kurdish peshmerga-guerilla. In a ravaged landscape two female YPG-warriors are interviewed about their identity and their rebellion against the society that has ignored woman’s historical values in dominant social narratives for thousands of years. How they have chosen to become fighters and what warfare is for them. In the ruins, there is a glimpse of a dancing body, as a life that used to be, or as a hope for a new life and future to come.

The documentary short film Red Handkerchief (2015) tells the story about five Kurds that were sentenced with 14-25 year long imprisonments in their twenties. Today free, they tell about how they survived abuse and torture through the Kurdish collective folk dance, ”Govend”. The dance that gave them courage and kept their spirits up and that made them organize.

is a dancer/choreograph, born in Istanbul.

She took part in the artistic activities of modern dance collective Mesopotamia Dance, in Istanbul between 2003 – 2013. In 2014, she graduated from Performing Arts Department at Istanbul Bilgi University.

Currently studies her Masters at Cinema studies at Istanbul Bilgi University. She wrote, choreographed and directed several performances and short video works.