Baran Caginli

Picture of bread that is baked to look like a human face.

2023, Mixed media

The artwork is exhibited in the Kuva/Tila gallery on the 1st floor of the Mylly building.


In the 1980s, Turkey was governed by the military after a bloody coup. The army shut down the parliament, and all political parties were banned. They also raided homes, schools, and universities to eliminate opposing organizations. As a high school student in Istanbul, my father was a member of a leftist youth organization. The military police imprisoned and tortured him because of his involvement in political activities.

When my grandfather heard about his son’s incarceration, he travelled from Kars, a city in the Kurdish region, to Istanbul to bring his son home. My father brought his library of forbidden Marxist-Leninist books with him. My grandfather, who was illiterate, did not recognise the books for what they were and saw no harm in taking the books with them. At their arrival, someone in the village warned my grandfather about the books: they were prohibited literature, and if found, they would all get arrested! To resolve the situation, my grandparents burned the books in their fireplace. But there were so many books that the constant fire made some people in the village suspect that something unusual was going on. To obscure their actions, my grandmother baked bread continuously for a week and gave it out to the whole village for free.

I’m baking bread in the form of Lenin, Marx and Rosa Luxemburg in memory of my father’s burned books. In the exhibition space, the bread will be shared among the visitors.

About the artist

Artist Baran Caginli was born in 1990 in Istanbul.

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