Trafo Bodrum, or Ali Hakan Aykan Culture and Art Centre, has been opened on August 31st, 2013 with a nice opening ceremony that I also attended. It is a social project run by the municipality to support art and artists to share their works with larger audiences.
The art gallery is an old stone building with a truly authentic atmosphere. The exhibits from various disciplines and movements, from modern art to contemporary art, take place almost all the time.
The side yard of the building is a large area with a great panorama of Kumbahce Bay to the east and walls of Bodrum Castle to the west. A café-bar located in the yard allows you to enjoy the view. A stage in the middle of the café is for concerts and other live performances.
Trafo means transformer in Turkish. 40 – 50 years ago, this was the power distribution building. Back on those days, power cuts were a serious problem even in big cities. I am sure it was worse in a small and remote town like Bodrum. Thanks God, now we have only power failures!
Anyway, one of my dearest friends is the daughter of a gentleman who was working at the transformer many years ago. I have listened her childhood memories with a smile on my face.
Her father was assigned to plunge the town into darkness. This was a recurring task which should have been done every night. My friend remembers how she was proud of having such a mighty dad: A man who was capable of bringing darkness. She said, greatest moments of her childhood were when her dad let her turn off the switch to call the shadows. She still gets excited when she is talking about her glorious times in Trafo Bodrum.
As the time went on, Bodrum started to make a name as a touristic destination. Priorities and needs were changing. Guests were asking for more entertainment alternatives. So a group of Bodrumians, early entrepreneurs of the town, decided to open a bar to fulfil new demand. Hadigari was born in 1974 on Bars Street.
Hadigari was a success story. Its popularity exceeded Bodrum city limits and became the most-known bar in Turkey. I think its fame was an important value add to Bodrum brand.
Hadigari grew and moved to a bigger place, to old transformer. It was large enough for more customers and to build a stage for live shows. From Norah Jones to Kerem Gorsev performed in new Hadigari which helped to create international awareness.
One of the owners of this successful business was Ali Hakan Aykan whose name was given to Trafo Bodrum; Ali Hakan Aykan Culture and Art Centre.
Bodrum has lost him in 2011 from a heart attack when he was 53. Unfortunately I haven’t met him but I know a lot of people who still miss him and mention him with a great love and respect. You should see their eyes when they are talking about him: sad and wet. It is amazing to see somebody had touched in so many lives.
His name was given to Trafo Bodrum. I think, Ali Hakan Aykan Culture and Art Centre is a proof that Bodrum doesn’t want to forget him and won’t.