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a project by Ayşegül Sönmez and Zeynep Okyay

The project is implemented during Mardin Biennale - 2018 and TEH #85 meeting in Bilbao - 2018

As xy generation, we are all born in the 20th century and continue our lives in the 21st century. The writing of the 20th century's art history is not yet complete. ​

Getting started from the question asked by James Elkins “Is art history global?”
My First Century team; Aysegul Sonmez & Zeynep Okyay get close-up views on the art history norms and geographical choices. The linear narrative of history is shaped with arbitrary criteria. Who made the norms and criteria? ​

With this project, we want to question the unquestionable norms of art history. My first century proposes ways to remap, de-center, and reorient the art history's canonic framework. ​


my first century, Mardin Biennale

The project already kicked off in Mardin, during the 4th edition of the Mardin Biennial. And it will take place in different cities of the world. In these cities, we organize participatory performances by inviting local people from the artistic and cultural scene, academy, political science, sociology, philosophy or architecture background.​

Each time, the project will be realized on-site, as a participatory project. 
We will make a circle, the performers and audience, and each performer will come to the middle of the circle, tell their 20th-century art history with their own narratives.

This format will help to build visibility to many artists that many of us may not know about, thus, it will grow the pleasure to discover new cultural elements and artistic practices. In each city, My First Century sessions will be realized with the participation of many local actors from the artistic and cultural scene. These actors are asked to tell their own 20th-century art history and their reasons.
My first century is a big challenge for everyone in order to get free of the spoken framework and to create new discourses.​

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