The first art studio at TheBestofBodrum.com is Atolye Dut Agaci where a famous Bodrumian painter, Dilek Uslu, creates her art. It means “Studio Mulberry Tree” in English. The name comes from two old mulberry trees in the garden of the studio building which is an old, authentic and beautiful Bodrum house.
The thing that beautifies the studio, of course, is not only the atmosphere. This is a small world where nature meets art and the gracefulness of the artist. Her figures and colours always give me a sense of being in another world; a peaceful yet mourning one.
Although it is just 200 metres away from the famous Bars Street of Bodrum, the art studio is somehow isolated from the rush of the city. 3 to 4 minute walk from the public library takes you there where Dilek Uslu spreads her experience and imagination over her canvas.
Dilek is a special lady who I am proud of knowing her. She is a Bodrumian painter, a talented craftswoman and a good friend.
While her everlasting energy, abysmal curiosity and kind personality make you feel the real Aegean spirit, her works can take you to a haunted universe where tranquillity can be disturbing. The only consistency in her works is the change itself.
Her mother side had emigrated from Crete in a population exchange and started a new life in Bodrum a century ago. I imagine how hard it should be to leave anything you know behind and start over in a different culture without your will.
Dilek had spent most her life in Bodrum except a few years when she continued working on her art in Izmir. Then she had been drawn back here where she can match her two major passions: painting and Bodrum.
She had been carrying out her art at her house’s ground floor until she saw the building which is her studio now. She said, in one of our conversations, she got connected with this building at the first sight because she felt like she had just found her childhood memories of old Bodrum. At that moment she knew she had to have it and she turned it to Atolye Dut Agaci.
I like this story because I came from a big city ruled by chaos and I don’t feel any sense of belonging for it. I think I am a little bit jealous about this emotion. What a pity!
Dilek is a “ten different skills on her ten fingers” type of artist, like an old Turkish idiom says. Her productivity and popularity are not limited to her paintings. She always finds new challenges and interests. She can somehow manage to spare time for her other projects, and there is always an “other project” in her agenda. You would be amazed with the sparks on her eyes when she is talking about them.
Finding and exposing connections between the lands where her ancestors were born and the land where she was born had always been important in her life. She has her own unique methods to tell the lost stories of the Aegean people who had to move their lives to other countries at the both sides of the Aegean Sea.
Reverse glass painting is another project she is working on. Although it is a rare technique from the medieval Europe, Ottomans had transformed it into an art style. Then we lost it. We lost one of the most important Ottoman art styles in the history.
Dilek Uslu has been working on this technique to keep it alive. Her outstanding efforts and hard work have been finally paying off and Reverse Glass Painting has been becoming popular again after centuries, especially in Bodrum.
A large room and the corridor in the studio also function as an art gallery together with the exhibition area in the garden. However, this is not a full-time gallery where you can visit anytime. Dilek’s priority is to focus on her work but lack of galleries in Bodrum had made her redecorate Atolye Dut Agaci and open a part of it as an art gallery.
It’s good to be in open air for exhibitions. I think nothing could describe better the life style of Bodrum and Bodrumians. Receptions, concerts and sometimes dinners take place in this lovely garden during these events.
If you are wondering the exhibition schedule or looking for a nice place for your event, send an e-mail to her, I am sure she will reply back in a couple of days with the information you asked for.
Various workshops are organized in Atolye Dut Agaci. As much as I know Dilek Uslu personally host Reverse Glass Painting and painting workshops. I attended to a painting workshop but it didn’t take so long to understand that becoming the next US President would be much more easier for me.
Dilek’s classes are not the sole organizations in the studio. Different instructors organizes interesting workshops like jewellery design, sewing and wood crafting. It is not easy to follow all so it would be better to check available workshops with the studio for better information.
I would like to thank Dilek Uslu for letting me to write about her and her art studio. The pictures I have used and the stories I have told couldn’t be here without her permission.
Hope to see you there in Atolye Dut Agaci someday!