Omar Berakdar (b. 1964, Damascus, Syria) is a photographer, media artist and the founder of arthereistanbul, an art space founded by Syrian artists living in Istanbul to provide others like them with support, visibility and a place to work. He is a founding member of the Syrian Cultural House in Turkey and of Fanak Fund, a Paris-based foundation that supports displaced artists, as well as a member of the Res Artis, a network for international artist residencies. He has initiated numerous residency programmes for artists, such as Fanak Fund’s support grants for displaced artists, awarded every year since 2016; BeMobileCreateTogether in collaboration with İKSV in 2019; and the ACT Exchange Residency Program supported by the British Council in 2022. He was a participant in Displaced in Media between 2016 and 2017, a project supported by the European Culture Foundation, as well as the project Reloading Images and Publication and its publication Damascus: Tourists, Artists, Secret Agents. A collector of photographic heritage, he gave a lecture about photographic archiving and contemporary art practices in SALT Galata in 2014, and has since then been involved in the preservation of photographic heritage within the MEPPI (Middle East Photographic Preservation initiative) project. Following his arrival in Turkey in 2012, Berakdar curated, co-curated and took part in various artistic projects and festivals such as Unauthorised, Depo, Istanbul, Turkey (2016); DOCUMENTARIST 7th Istanbul Documentary Days, Istanbul, Turkey (2016) and Contemporary Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey (2016–17).
Çiğdem Öztürk (b. 1978, Istanbul, Turkey) is a freelance journalist, editor and translator focusing on human rights, women’s rights, anti-discrimination policies, arts and music. She studied political science, and during her professional life has worked for several magazines, newspapers and radio stations including Pazartesi, Adam Öykü, Adam Sanat, Buğday, Açık Radyo, Radikal, Roll, Express, Bir+Bir as a correspondent and editor. She has worked as a lecturer at the Izmir University of Economics and has contributed to Istanbul and Ayvalık film festivals. For the 17th Istanbul Biennial in 2021, she curated Side by Side Together, an 8th of March celebration dedicated to migrant women’s stories. She has translated books from Spanish and English into Turkish by Alejandro Zambra, Jorge Luis Borges, Guillermo Cabrera Infante, Javier Marías amongst others, and is currently working on a documentary film project on solidarity concerts.