22 February 2022

Füsun Eczacıbaşı Received Award From The Queen of Spain for Supporting Contemporary Art


Madrid-based Callia Foundation honored SAHA Chair of the Board, Füsun Eczacıbaşı, with the "International Patron Award". The award ceremony, supported by Queen Sofia of Spain since its establishment, was held for the 7th time this year with a solemn ceremony at the San Fernando Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Madrid on February 22. SAHA Board of Directors and corporate supporters, as well as Turkey's Ambassador of Spain, have attended the ceremony along with international guests.

The award has been given to the leading art supporters in Spain and South America since 2015 for their work supporting the arts and their ethical and moral values for philanthropy. This year, it was given to an international person for the first time; to Füsun Eczacıbaşı. The award selection committee of Max Hollein, director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Tomás Marco, director of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Madrid, and Carmen Gaitan, director of the National Museum of Art in Mexico, provided the reasoning that  SAHA—Supporting Contemporary Art from Turkey, chaired by Füsun Eczacıbaşı, created a worldwide model of solidarity and philanthropy for the arts.

Füsun Eczacıbaşı, who received her award from Queen Sofia of Spain in person, expressed her feelings with the following words: “It is a great honor to receive this award, which is given for the first time on an international scale, from the hands of Her Majesty, in the presence of such esteemed guests, alongside the revered philanthropists Felipa Jove and Darlene & Jorge Perez. I receive this award on behalf of the SAHA Association and my colleagues; SAHA continues its existence with the support of over 100 individual and corporate members. Eduardo Galeano's statement ‘I don’t believe in charity, I believe in solidarity’ best describes the model we want to create in SAHA. A model that avoids a hierarchical structure from the top-down, instead of focusing on egalitarian cooperation with respect and solidarity… In this spirit of cooperation, we aimed to integrate art from Turkey into international artistic dialogue and create an independent 'field' [saha] for art.”

In her talk, Eczacıbaşı emphasized that art enriches her life and worldview: “Through their work, artists nurture our empathy and understanding, enabling us to imagine other lives, narratives, and perspectives. They help us bridge the gap between people, ideologies, beliefs, and cultures with their creativity. They become the voice of the silent and the silenced. We believe that communicating through art is more important than ever in today's world.” 

In addition to the international award given to Füsun Eczacıbaşı this year, the Spanish Patron Award was received by Felipa Jove, President of the Maria Jose Jove Foundation, and the Latin American Patron Award was received by Jorge & Darlene Pérez, who are known for their collection and family foundations in the USA. 

Within the scope of the Ibero-American Patronage Awards, an international conference focusing on supporting the arts was held at the Maria Cristina Masaveu Peterson Foundation on February 20. Füsun Eczacıbaşı has presented SAHA in the panel titled “Exporting artists to the World: Models that work,” moderated by Mónica González-Adalid, director of the Ibero-American Patronage Awards. Among the conference participants are Alex Rüger, Director of the Royal Academy of Arts; artist Claudia Comte; José Guirao, former Spanish Minister of Culture; and Ricardo Martí Fluxá, former president of the Board of the Reina Sofia Museum.

Please click here for SAHA's 10th-year video.

Füsun Eczacıbaşı graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts as an Architect (MSc) in 1986. She is actively involved in many NGOs focusing on human rights, nature preservation, and education. She is one of the founders and the chair of SAHA—Supporting contemporary art from Turkey. She is a member of Art Basel Global Patrons Council, International Friends of Documenta, Friends of Castello di Rivoli, and Tate International Council Advisory Board. She’s among the supporters of The Pavilion of Turkey in Venice in providing a permanent venue. She is also an International Leadership Council Co-chair and a member of the Board of Trustees of the New Museum in New York.

Callia Foundation's Patronage Awards have a mission to promote patronage and support for the arts by inspiring people through sharing life experiences of those who are patrons. Emerging from with the idea of being an incubator for new patrons and supporters of the arts, the awards bring together more than 100 great Ibero-American entrepreneurs each year around a social commitment to the arts.


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