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Fikret Atay: Tinica (2004)

Through June 2023

Through handheld filming and documentary video techniques, Tinica portrays a young man on a mountaintop improvising empty tin cans into a drum set. Overlooking the suburbs of Batman, a Turkish city near Iraq, he abruptly stops playing and kicks the cans down the hillside—a rebellious gesture as familiar to rock and roll as it is to performance art.

Of Kurdish descent, Atay highlights tensions between civilian life and military occupation—everyday reality for the Kurdish people of Batman, the artist’s hometown. While the performer’s gestures of play and rebellion can be viewed in the context of the long-standing conflict between the Kurds (an ethnic group of 30 million people dispersed across the Middle East) and Turkish armed forces, the desires they express—frustration and refusal, making something from nothing—are near-universal.

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About the Artist

Fikret Atay is a video artist based in Sweden. He focuses on conflicts between tradition and modernity, civil life and military occupation, exploring diverse notions of everyday life to reveal the redemptive potential of creativity. He uses paradoxes to question political oppression, military intervention, and the relations between the local and the global, tradition, and experimentation.

Video artist Fikret Atay headshot

Image courtesy of the artist.


Swagato Chakravorty, Daniel W. Dietrich II Fellow; and Erica F. Battle, John Alchin and Hal Marryatt Curator of Contemporary Art

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