In addition to its regular support for the Istanbul, Çanakkale, Mardin and Sinop biennials, SAHA calls for an open call for the "SAHA Sustainability Fund", which it continues to expand for the sustainability of independent art spaces and initiatives across Turkey. This fund was created to contribute to the development of independent non-profit art initiatives and to encourage the sustainability of their public programs and events.
Initiatives play an important role in the development of independent art production by providing visibility especially to early career artists and curators through the programs they prepare. SAHA also helps the initiatives, with which it will be in contact throughout the year, to develop new projects and collaborations in line with their needs.
While SAHA Sustainability Fund provided annual funding to 34 different art initiatives between 2014 and 2022, in 2020, SAHA Sustainability Fund provided additional funding to 21 different art projects within the scope of "SAHA Sustainability Fund: Covid-19", which was established to support artists and collectives whose production process was negatively affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, who want to complete their projects or address the issues and problems that emerged during this period: Covid-19", which was established to support artists and collectives who want to complete their projects whose production process was negatively affected by the Covid-19 pandemic or address the issues and problems arising during this period.
5533 is a contemporary art space based in Istanbul. Founded by artists Nancy Atakan and Volkan Aslan, 5533 aims to create a platform where artists exchange ideas. Located in the Istanbul Textile Traders Market (İMÇ) in Unkapanı neighborhood, the space—formerly a shop—hosts workshops, screening, exhibitions, and performances on a sporadic basis. Each year 5533 invites a curator to work with the founders on a 12-month program—emphasizing two premises: collaborating with other artists/curators and operating without long-term plans.
A4 Open Art Space (Diyarbakır)
Founded in Diyarbakır to support the creative potentials of young people, to create new opportunities for them, and to help them gain experience, A4 Open Art Space provides a multi-functional art space for alternative artistic works, encouraging interdisciplinary practices. A4 Open Art Space aims to increase their contact with research-driven artistic practices, to increase the visibility of Diyarbakır in the international context, and to realize guest artist residency programs. A4 also provides space for workshops, seminars, conversations geared towards developing artistic practices and serves as an open studio space for local artists.
Altatölye is a culture and art platform that emerged from more than ten years of collective work and workshop adventures. The workshop, which operates in the field of culture and art, creates its theoretical and practical productions based on the open collective principle. In this respect, it claims to be a common space where artists can share their experiences and ideas. Especially together with the young names of today’s art context, it aims to be an alternative to the tautological equations of the relations that have become the authority figures of the art market and to create a unique space for artists.
Analytic Art Group (Mersin - Çözümsel Sanat Topluluğu)
The analytical art activities of Analytic Art Group are the activities that have been developed by Şeref Erol and Elif Kılıçdoğan, who are the permanent-certain participants of the group, since 2018 and directly refer to the form of the conceptual art activities of The Definition of Art Group. The establishment of Analytic Art Group has historically started with the termination of Text and Analytical Art Atelier. Text and Analytical Art Atelier was established by Şeref Erol as an elective atelier in Mersin University Faculty of Fine Arts in 2013-14 academic year in order to create the equivalent of the conceptual art activities of the The Definition of Art Group in the university environment. The atelier, which continued its university-level activities with the assistance of Elif Kılıçdoğan until 2018, was terminated in the same year due to factors other than the atelier (the traditional art understanding of the relevant university). Subsequently, these activities were moved to the city (Mersin) plane (civilized) and continued under the name of Analytic Art Group. The art approach that Analytic Art Group directly refers to with the analytical art activities is the art approach of the conceptual art activities of The Definition of Art Group. This original art approach is: “Performing an intellectual activity based on the fields of art, philosophy, science, logic and mathematic in terms of being art in a certain space, at a certain time, with participants, in a demonstrative manner, in "installations" containing various objects with elements of text, image and sound.
Apartman Projesi (Berlin - İstanbul)
Berlin Apartment Project, established in 1999, is one of the pioneers of artist run spaces in Istanbul. Apartment Project was initiated with a focus on interdisciplinary sharing, communal production and creating exhibition opportunities; and over the years, has been an open platform for solo exhibitions of artists from Turkey and abroad, interdisciplinary partnerships, presentations, and panel discussions. Since September 2012, Apartment Project has moved its primary space to Berlin, and has been focusing on communal living and collective production models.
Arazi consists of artists and researchers who focus on various scales of spaces in the southeast region of Turkey since 2016. The artists and researchers of the Arazi Collective are using artistic research methodologies within the field of critical spatial practices. The collective focuses on how a scale of infrastructure functions as the agency and its impact on the region as an assemblage. Furthermore, the practices of the collective focus on the concepts that produce the space and landscape, such as ecocide, geontology, migration, resistance structures, decolonization, and common heritage. Arazi uses transversal-phenomenological field research and socially engaged art practices by producing speculative realist, fictive or ethnographic-based mediums and methodologies.
Founded in 2017 in Beyoğlu, AVTO seeks to promote experimental methods, scientific understanding and objective thinking within artistic practice and research-based projects on current and critical issues. AVTO operates to inquire, to research and to (un)learn together rather than to function as a conventional exhibition space.
Since 2006 artist Banu Cennetoğlu has been running the space BAS in Istanbul where artists’ books and publications are collected, displayed and produced. BAS is building a collection of artists’ books by local and international artists. Between 2006 – 2009, BAS published Bent, a series of artists’ books co-edited by Banu Cennetoglu and Philippine Hoegen. After Hoegen moved to Brussels in 2011, they decided to stop the production of the Bent series, though projects that resulted from, or relate to Bent still continue.
Corridor Project Space (Holland)
Corridor Project Space is an initiative in Amsterdam with its own exhibition space situated both in project space and public space. It initiates projects where artists, writers, curators, activists, and theorists can meet, think and work on a project together with the aim to blend practices within the exhibitions. Since 2010, Corridor Project Space, formerly known as De Kikjdoos Public Space, has served as a cultural cabinet to engage in collaborative cultural production and artistic research of any kind.
Çıplak Ayaklar Kumpanyası (İstanbul – Bursa)
A dream country, Çıplak Ayaklar Kumpanyası was founded in 2003 in Istanbul’s vibrant neighborhood, Beyoğlu. Made up mostly of dancers with contemporary backgrounds, the Company started with first independent shows “Why, İnçu, Çima, Neden…” It has come a long way until today with shows such as “Mehmet Barış’ı seviyor” (Mehmet Loves Barış), “Engin-ar, Şehirde” (In the City), “Ters Okyanus” (Reverse Ocean), “Kontrol” (Control), “Sen Balık Değilsin ki” (You’re Not a Fish), “Kız Doğdu” ( A Girl is Born), "Tüh!, Hayat Ağacı” (Tree of Life), “Gomidas’la Yolculuk” (Journey with Gomidas), “Hiçbir Şey Yerinde Değil” (Nothing is in Place). Since its founding, Çıplak Ayaklar Kumpanyası valued production through sharing and achieved forming its own language. Over time, this production expanded through forms of body, movement, shows, and workshops, earning the Company not only its own audience but also helping enlist new amateur and professional dancers into the field. Today, the Company still continues to chase after a dream country and to dance as it runs.
Darağaç is a non-profit art collective located in Izmir Umurbey Neighborhood and an open space where new communication strategies are experienced. Umurbey Neighborhood, formerly known as Darağaç, is located between the Alsancak Stadium and Halkapınar, used as an industrial zone in the past. Today, Darağaç neighborhood hosts artist/artisan workshops and residents. Darağaç is also the name of a group of exhibitions that have developed and matured with an atmosphere of intense dialogue and discussion between artists, artisans and residents of the neighborhood. The main goal of Darağaç is to transform the neighborhood into a space where young artists can show their work and to create a common discourse. Darağaç, due to the lack of venues in Izmir, acts as a reconciliation zone for the emerging artist and the public space. Darağaç has not imposed any subject and material limitations for the artists in the exhibitions it has organized and the events it has participated in. Darağaç encourages the artists to try new methods in the public sphere. Interdisciplinary works are exhibited or hosted in Darağaç, in areas such as painting, photography, sculpture, installation, video, and performance. At the same time, Darağaç is trying to transform into a kind of experimental city institute.
Eldem Art Space (Eskişehir)
Founded in 2018, Eldem Art Space is an Eskişehir-based non-profit contemporary art platform. With its programs that encourage interdisciplinary collaboration, it addresses important problems on a social scale through the lens of the artists, curators, initiatives, designers and researchers it works with, and focuses on critical approach.
Hayy Open Space (İzmir)
Hayy Open Space is an independent nonprofit art space in the Piyaleoğlu Inn in Kemeraltı İzmir. Taking contemporary art as its main focus, Hayy organizes exhibitions, performances, workshops,talks and readings concentrating on a practice of collective thinking and creating within different disciplines. Aiming to create a space for creation, not consumption and for listening and experiencing rather than lecturing. Hayy Open Space is undisciplined space, open to all disciplines that touch upon art and sharing.
Founded in 2021, KIRIK is a research-based, participatory, and critical initiative for people and topics in the cracks. By choosing KIRIK as the name of our initiative, we embrace and reclaim multiple meanings of this versatile word in Turkish such as crack, hue, hybrid, fault, strange, and queer. Our initiative comes as a response to the shrinking of individual, cultural and political spheres in Turkey in the past decade, when several collectives, solidarity organizations, and solidarity spaces we took part in struggled to sustain themselves. KIRIK emerged at this time as a response to these withdrawals.
KOLİ Art Space (İstanbul)
Located in Kadikoy/Istanbul, KOLI Art Space is a non-profit, independent work, production, and exhibition space founded by Yasemin Kalaycı and Elçin Acun. KOLI, circulating on artistic experience and cooperation, exists with the support of dialogue between feminist and queer artists. Fueled by the power of inclusivity and diversity, it is a field of art born out of the belief that the need for change is imperative by focusing on the fluidity of identity and gender. Using art as a method of activism, KOLI aims to be a platform free of censorship, where interdisciplinary interaction and solidarity are prioritized. It aims to establish relations with national and international artists, initiatives and cultural institutions. Besides exhibitions, it plans events such as talks, seminars, workshops, performances, and film screenings. It aims to realize joint projects by focusing on collective production methods between artists. The word “koli” refers to the state of not being a white cube, as well as referring to Lubunca (an argot used by LGBT community in Turkey). “Koli”; is a box, such as a parcel, is a structure that can be broken down and rebuilt, that does not agitate, that you would not be afraid of contaminating into contact with it, that is open to experiments, that can encourage to be experimental.
Kültürhane is a café-library founded by three of the petitioners of the Peace Declaration after their dismissal from their university posts. Since then, Kültürhane has been a venue of resilience by offering a public space hosting people from different socio-political backgrounds interested in different areas. For this purpose, since its opening in September 2017, it has hosted hundreds of different cultural and social events. From cinema to literature, feminism to human rights, cycling to sailing, urban culture to cultural heritage, the place has welcomed many visitors who shared their experiences and knowledge.
Loading is a non-profit art space that aims to enrich contemporary art dialogue in Diyarbakır since 2017. Their founding goal was not to bring together the artists living and working in Diyarbakır under one roof, but rather to resolve the issues they have been encountering in production and project-related issues, to archive the contemporary art practices from the first quarter of the 2000s, and to strengthen the international artistic awareness and interaction in Diyarbakır through various activities.
MARS was initially established in 2000 by Pınar Öğrenci as an architectural research and restoration office, and transitioned in 2010 to the MARSIstanbul, an artist initiative that serves as a hub for artists from Turkey and abroad to develop exhibition projects. The aim to be a “space for art” was born with the first event hosted by MARS, the spring exhibition of artist Erim Bayri. MARS aims to contribute to Istanbul’s art scene by sharing its space through inviting artists, art critics, curators and art audiences.
Founded in 2011, m-est.org is an online publication, conceived as an artist-centered initiative. Works by artists, studio visits, articles based on and related to conversations on visual practices are published on m-est.org, imagined as a virtual discussion space. Artists and cultural practitioners trace issues of concern or curiosity publicly on m-est.org. The focus on artists from Turkey reiterates a widening network of people, starting where we are, to explore where we are going to go, limited only by our own interests, associations, and affinities. One of the founding principles of m-est.org is that it is and always will be free to access online.
Izmir-based non-profit contemporary art platform Monitor focuses on video and film screenings and talks. Monitor does not have a fixed space and organizes contemporary art-oriented displays in collaboration with existing art venues and alternative exhibition spaces. Monitor brings together artists from Turkey and abroad within a specific concept in each exhibition. Monitor aims to reach anyone interested in art and collaborates with Izmir-based artists, students, academics, non-governmental organizations, and universities. The purpose of this project is to create a display and discussion area in the field of contemporary art through collaborations in Izmir. Monitor also aims to bring innovations to the city in a conceptual and aesthetic sense by creating a formation apart from the ongoing structures and systems.
NOKS is a work, production and exhibition space located in Yeldegirmeni, Kadikoy. The collective, which is centered on photography, video art and artist books, offers an informal platform through spatial experiments. It aims to create a structure in which intercultural collaborations and interdisciplinary interaction are prioritized. In addition to exhibitions, talks and workshops, it carries out long-term cultural projects. NOKS was founded in 2017 by Elvan Ekren and Volkan Kızıltunç.
OJ Art Space was founded in the Asmalı Mescit neighborhood in Taksim as an independent art space in 2016. In it’s first year OJ hosted 10 contemporary art exhibitions, and furthermore took on the form of an important network for artists, curators, and writers from different countries interested in pushing the boundaries of contemporary exhibition making. OJ focuses its efforts on creating unique spaces for artists from Turkey to concentrate on new methods of exhibiting while also conducting communication in order for participation in international media and publications.
Orta Format (İstanbul)
Orta Format is an online magazine publishing interviews, articles and projects on contemporary photography. It is a non-profit and an independent journal edited by Tevfik Çağrı Dural, Şener Soysal, and İpek Çınar. Orta Format is the result of a collective effort and its content forms around research relating to photography-art which is the foundation of its editors’ working practices. The magazine is open to research and contribution while aiming to be straight-forward and understandable by providing a refined interface unlike other familiar internet applications.
PASAJ is an artist initiative. It tries to create an alternative multi-functional location in center of Istanbul. It gives opportunities to the artists and any artistic and creative attempt to share it with the public and its audiences. It hosts innovative and alternative contemporary art projects which are mainly short term (1 day to 3 weeks). It is an area where artist and artist groups can create, show, share their work with audiences and participants.
International Performance Art Platform Performistanbul was founded by Simge Burhanoğlu in January 2016, with the mission to bring international artists and institutions, and to promote performance art. Performistanbul act as a medium to connect art institutions with performance artists while creating site specific performances. The platform laid the foundations of Performistanbul Live Art Research Space (PLARS) in 2018, aiming to have a specialized library with more than 7000 physical and digital resources focused on archiving, documenting and exhibiting live art.
Operating since April 2017 in a multicultural neighborhood of Çanakkale, sub was materialized when a roof was propped over the scaffolding between neighboring buildings. sub designs its functioning in cycles, as an area of experience for developing prospects of sustainability, while prioritizing the fair use of the space. As a residence, work and exhibition space, sub produces and hosts art projects without electing disciplines. It gives room to grow radical imaginations for the present and the future by investigating the natural and cultural thresholds that anthropocentric ideas exclude from function and meaning, sub proposes open-to-open contact, transparent structuring based on collaboration with artists and researchers.
Space Debris (İstanbul)
Space Debris is a multi-purpose art space founded by Seyhan Musaoğlu. As a hub space for innovative dialogue with a collective soul, the aim is to gain recognition for interactive new media works and interdisciplinary subjects that challenge traditional boundaries. Space Debris is a place for all artists and art lovers to experience the constructs of fluxus happenings. The space builds all-encompassing experiences, visually and aurally, creating an ambiance that visitors can enter and interact with.
Tasarım Bakkalı (İstanbul)
Tasarım Bakkalı is a 10m² independent art space, established with the motto of “accessible art and arcitecture”. The space is located in the center of Yeldeğirmeni district, a neighborhood currently undergoing a period of change, transforming socially and culturally. Since establishment in April 2015, Tasarım Bakkalı has functioned as an open display place for many artists and designers. While exhibiting the works of artists established within the Turkish art scene, Tasarım Bakkalı has also provided exhibition opportunities for talented younger artists and architects. Widening its portfolio with international artists as a part of the artist-in-residence program which started in 2017, Tasarım Bakkalı produces events such as monthly exhibitions, artist talks and performances.
Torun was born out of the necessity of a space for sharing/exhibiting art in Küçükesat, Ankara. It is self-sustained through the support of its likeminded community, and aims to give its two-floored space completely to the artist, in the interest of discovering how they might work in isolation from conventional contemporary art relationships. By organizing parallel events that work in collaboration with the artists, Torun seeks to create a platform where discussion and talks can take place.
TOZ / Artist Run Space (İstanbul)
TOZ is a non-profit, artist-run art space initiated in 2015 by artists Ece Eldek, Elvan Ekren, Sinem Dişli, and Volkan Kızıltunç, after transforming their studio located in Kadıköy, Istanbul. TOZ provides a collaborative, process-based, informal platform promoting dialogue and exchange through workshops, events, screenings, exhibitions and spatial experiments in the fields of photography and video, particularly on time-based artistic practices, beyond the confines of commerical concerns or limitations.
Videoist is an independent video art intiative founded by artists, Hülya Özdemir and Ferhat Satıcı in 2003. Videoist was established from the need and belief of motivating and supporting the video artists in their endevaour of expressing their ideas through the extensive and practical possibilities of video language. Videoist aims to accumulate documentation and collection of video art and signifies independent video artworks which present criticism, alternative concepts and visual language to industrial, popular, commercial video productions. Since March 2014, Videoist has been working on projects in Mardin.