Baki Murat Top



Baki Murat Top
a cartoon exhibition karikatür sergisi
life is not always fun yasam her zaman eğlenmek değil
Baki Murat Top
9 May - 8 June 2003
Eren Bros.
Growers, Packers
& Exporters of
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This project is supported by the City of Greater Shepparton through the Arts in the Community Fund
I was born in a small town called Hinis in east
Turkey, in 1962. My initial interest in drawing
cartoons started with the release of humour
magazine, Girgir (Senseless Chatter). In the
1970s, Girgir was one of the most popular
humour magazines in the world selling about
half million copies per week.
Despite having an interest in drawing, I studied
science, graduating from the University of Ege
(Izmir, Turkey) with a science degree in
Agriculture in 1985.
Working in a different area did not stop me from developing
my natural skill. On the contrary, drawing has become a
magical power for me to renew myself against discomforts
created by life issues within me in the course of time.
I like drawing cartoons about contradictive and tragic-comic
aspects of humans between themselves and nature. This
interest inspires me to draw about the problems of life or to
concentrate my works on the darkness of life.
My works are commonly defined as ‘black humour or
political cartoons’ without words. Therefore, some viewers
consider my works as very thought provoking, poignant and
savage because of their realities.
During my long association with the art of cartooning, I have
drawn for a number of magazines published in both Turkey
and Australia. Many of my works have been exhibited and
included in the numerous catalogues. Some of my works
have also been printed as greeting cards.
I have participated in a number of mixed exhibitions and I
opened my first solo exhibition in Australia at Shepparton Art
Gallery in 1998.
Shepparton Art Gallery is pleased to support this project as
an important part of our commitment to promote the work of
local artists and present a varied exhibition program.
The Shepparton Art Gallery presents over 26 exhibitions each
year and of those over 50% are drawn from the local
community. This active program has seen the Gallery
attendance increase from 13,500 in 1997 to over 41,000 in
The Gallery acknowledges and thanks the City of Greater
Shepparton for their additional support of the project through
the “Arts In The Community Fund”.
The Council as a part of its “Encouraging Arts in the
Community” policy initiated the Arts In The Community
Fund. The funding program is designed and administered to
support achievement of the principles expressed in this
● Promote arts and cultural endeavours and activities in the
● Encourage, support and promote active participation by
the whole community in artistic and cultural activities,
● Celebrate local culture and identity,
● Encourage, support and promote innovation and skill
development in the arts and
● Ensure arts activities are accessible and available to all
sections of the community.
Many issues confront the community at the moment, the war
with Iraq, terrorism, drought, and the environment in general.
Through his cartoons, which comment on these issues and
more, Murat Top has given the community a forum through
which to voice these concerns. Murat’s subjects are thought
provoking, topical and sometimes confronting.
We trust you enjoy this exhibition and congratulate Murat
Top on a successful display.
Leanne Willis, Director, Shepparton Art Gallery
A few words about Murat Top’s art
Murat Top’s cartoon carries, in a very clear way, the climate
of Anatolia, which has been the cradle of civilisations uniting
Asia and Europe for three thousand years.
What is this? A deep questioning of life; the adventure of
light and darkness; obligation and freedom; search of one’s
self; destruction and rise; opening and blockage. In Murat’s
cartoons you can find the charm that exists in quality stories.
Sometimes one cannot help asking if these cartoons are
wandering over a path extending from the Mediterranean to
the Pacific.
When I look at Murat Top’s works, I believe that his cartoon
is the transformation of life’s fire into lines, attacking
human’s darkness and becoming its nightmare. I think the
reality that fills me with such an association and thought, is
Murat’s loading of contradictions with such density and the
destructive characteristics to his cartoons. Anyway, isn’t real
art the art of loading the earth’s contradictions to its essence
and transforming them with its own aesthetic lens to light,
and trying to overcome and push obligation with this light?
Murat has his own style. He takes humanity’s vital problems
through his mysterious mirror and turns them to an
educational and artistic force.
In his art, people and things are like porters and philosophers
of the problems they are trying to solve. For this reason we
can call Murat the blacksmith of heated contradictions.
In short, Murat Top’s cartoons are the product of an art that,
far from decorative and unnecessary confusion of form,
moves its viewers to our internal confusion and makes us
think and arise with a desire for action.
Muzaffer Orucoglu, Painter - Author
Artist statement
I believe that the art of the cartooning is the quickest, the most
sincere, most equitable and the most blunt of all the arts.
It is quick because it can express the message of truth and reality
in seconds, which would otherwise be told in many full pages. It
is sincere because it can touch every heart with aesthetic softness
of the line, and set up a relationship quickly between itself and
its viewer. It is equitable because it approaches everybody
equally when it is expressing the messages of the reality. It is
blunt because it can tell what it wants bravely in a sharp and
short way without being afraid of, or taking pity on, anybody.
That is why I have always believed that the cartoon should not
merely make us laugh or entertain, as is widely thought.
Art has been carrying a responsibility on its shoulder to change
and improve the communities in which it has existed for
hundreds of years. The tolerant and warm environment it created,
without any discrimination, has improved senses of humanity
while its stability has improved and matured human
consciousness and power for struggle. This maturing has played
a role to accelerate the period of civilisation in the course of
The position that humanity has reached with the support of art is
undoubtedly much better than it was hundreds years ago.
However, it doesn’t mean that art has completely finished its
responsibilities. Many problems still continue even though they
are a touch too real for many people to accept. Human and
natural resources of the world still disappear in meaningless
wars, angry invasion for goods and power, discrimination,
disease and poverty.
Thus art must continue with its historical commitment to make
life more livable, by bringing the difficult side of life to people’s
attention, warning the creators of problems and others who are
left to live with these problems. This should be achieved without
losing artistic aesthetic integrity, while ensuring some thing is
done to solve the problems.
Unfortunately despite the world having many beautiful aspects,
living is not funny for millions due to these existing problems.
Therefore, the art of cartooning shouldn’t be just a tool of
humour, wit, joke and fun while there are millions who are living
in pain and sadness. Such an art shouldn’t waste time aimlessly
when the world must confront these many problems.
That is why the art of cartooning must continue to point out the
dark side of life and criticise the creators of these problems
forcing them to change their behaviour. This means the art of
cartooning must continue to be “a dangerous art”.
I always draw my cartoons with the hope of increasing the
number hearts that will see the darkness of the life and join the
struggle to convert this darkness to light. I believe that with an
increased number of such hearts, life would be always fun for
Baki Murat Top
1 May 2003
Tele-soldier Tele-asker 2003
Indian ink, colour pencil, pastel
297 x 420 mm
The aid Yardim 2001
Indian ink, colour pencil, pastel
204 x 305 mm
Wasted lives Harcanan hayatlar 2003
Indian ink, colour pencil, pastel
297 x 420 mm
The cost of loyalty Bagliligin bedeli 2003
Indian ink, colour pencil, pastel
297 x 420 mm
Hope Umut 2003
Indian ink, colour pencil, pastel
297 x 420 mm
The friendship of books Kitaplarin dostlugu 2003
Indian ink, colour pencil, pastel
297 x 420 mm
No War Savasa hayir 2003
Indian ink, colour pencil, pastel
297 x 420 mm
Unnecessary deaths Gereksiz ölümler 2003
Indian ink, colour pencil, pastel
297 x 420 mm
Sensitivity 1 Duyarlilik 1 2003
Indian ink, colour pencil, pastel
297 x 420 mm
In memory of Nazim Hikmet 1 (Poem title: Last request) Nazim Hikmet’in anisina 1 (Vasiyet adli siiri) 2003
Indian ink, colour pencil, pastel
297 x 420 mm
Tele-bombing Tele-bombardiman 2003
Indian ink, colour pencil, pastel
297 x 420 mm
The desire for watching intently Dikizleme arzusu 1998
Indian ink, colour pencil, pastel
240 x 300 mm
Set Peace free Barisa özgürlük 2003
Indian ink, colour pencil, pastel
297 x 420 mm
In memory of Nazim Hikmet 2 (Poem title: My heart) Nazim Hikmet’in anisina 2 (Kalbim adli siiri) 2002
Indian ink, colour pencil, pastel
249 x 320 mm
Longing Hasret 1994
Indian ink, colour pencil, pastel
256 x 319 mm

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