Friday, October 14, 2011

STARS OF ISTANBUL: The 'stars' are shining brightly on the streets of Istanbul!

Dear readers,

I decided to change it up a bit with this post ... and will do so more in the future too... and have decided to prepare some posts on major arts and culture activities in Istanbul!

So... let's begin!!!!

What do you get when you combine a diminutive (affectionately!) hardworking, socially conscious spitfire of a woman who has a heart of gold with a well-known and respected journalist/broadcaster/media executive/businessman who has probably been associated with an upteen of social and cultural projects, topped with an internationally recognized highly talented designer, coupled with the support of the Municipality of Istanbul - for a very very good cause - that is underpriviledged children under the auspices of UNICEF Turkey???

The answer isssss... STARS OF ISTANBUL!!!

Now... to share the names and faces of this talented core project partners - Zeynep Helvacı is the woman and someone who I am proud to say is a friend - has been involved in many many like projects. In fact, I met her many years ago when she worked on the CowParade project. Nuri M. Çolakoğlu has been involved in too many projects to list here, but is also someone I know and had the pleasure of meeting at many social gatherings and meetings. Ms. Helvacı and Mr. Çolakoğlu are responsible for the concept and implementation of the project.

Duygu Bengi (staff member), Zeynep Helvacı, Mercan Dede (prominent internatinally acclaimed Turkish artist, Emir Sarısaç (staff member), Nuri M. Çolakoğlu, Metin Gürsoy (PR) (from left to right)

The 3rd person on the core team is Aziz Sarıyer, a respected member of the international design community. Mr. Sarıyer founded his company Derin Design ( in 1971 and specializes in furniture design and production. He designed the 5-sided star (dimensions: height: 1.80cm, width: 1.87cm, diameter: 75cm).

Aziz Sarıyer

To quote Mr. Sarıyer, "The 5-sided star is a symbol of humanity and love. While the top side symbolizes the human head as well as spirituality, the other four corners represent the arms and the legs, but alternatively, they ar believed to signify the four elements - earth, air, fire and water - as well as the four seasons. Its meaning: the possibility to utilize the spiritual energy one possesses during daily life. Throughout the ages, the shiny objects high up in the heavens have represented success and fortune for humanity. I have designed the star form for all the children of the world. By trying to stay true to the 5-sided star's geometry, I've attempted to recreate a child star which is as abstract as possible".  

Ok... now to the details of the project!

The Stars of Istanbul exhibition is the largest multi-purpose outdoor arts event held in Istanbul to benefit UNICEF Turkey in order to, among other purposes, to provide a brighter future for children.

Since the exhibition "opened" on September 1st, most Istanbul residents are now very familiar with these stars that adorn many streets and shopping malls throughout the city.

Kanyon (Levent) Shopping Mall

Büyükdere Street (in front of Kanyon Shopping Mall)

Abdi Ipekçi Street (Nişantaşı)
So... How does it work? Well... Turkish & International companies, individuals or artists paid a certain fee to "adopt" a star. Then they got together with an artist of their choice to design the star! On display on each platform that the star sits on is the name of the sponsor company/individual, the designer's name and a sign that indicates how you can do your part to support the cause. can you support and make a donation to the cause? Let's say you are walking down the street and you really like the design of a star you see... then just whip out your cellular phone (AVEA, Turkcell or Vodafone subscribers) and send a message to 3005 by writing the word STAR (add a space) and then write the Star's Code... by doing this you will be making a 10 TL donation - it's that simple! 

Cevahir Shopping Mall (Mecidiyeköy) - photo supplied by Stars of Istanbul

So... where are all of these imaginative and one-of-a-kind STARS located? Well, pretty much in all the major neighborhoods and malls on the European and Asian sides of the city (including the Atatürk International Airport and Sabiha Gökçen Airport on the Asian side of the city).

So... how long will the exhibition be on display? The outdoor exhibition will be on display until November 30th. If you don't live in Istanbul and plan on visiting our lovely city - come before November 30th if you want to see them up close and personal!

So... what happens to these STARS after November 30th? They will be auctioned off on December 17th... this is still a preliminary date and might change. So, if you are interested in buying one, visit their website as the exhibit draws to a close for up-to-date information!

So...what will be the benefits of the exhibition? It is anticipated that the future of 90,000 children in Turkey will be brighter because of this project.

Kudos to everyone on the core team, UNICEF Turkey, the Municipality of Istanbul s well as all the wonderful people behind the scenes who worked and continue to work very hard to ensure the success of this worthwhile project!



  1. Well...what can I say... you just sum up topics so nicely that not only is it understandble but, easy & fun reading. I love the opening paragraph..very impressive!... I am not biased at all...your writing says it all..thank you for your blogs because I get to read interesting & informative things...sis Meltem
    p.s. again the pictures are great...

  2. thank you sis! You made my night! I took all the pix of the stars except for the one from Cevahir...