The Moon and Stars Project (MASP) Grants are dedicated to highlighting Turkey's arts and culture scene and establishing a two-way cultural interaction with the United States. Following a competitive selection, MASP grants are awarded once each year to a number of grant seekers. We are thrilled to announce the grant recipients for 2019!


"Kim Mihri" by Berna Gencalp



"Mihri definitely deserves her name, her life story, and her art to be internationally recognized today which would empower young women both in the East and the West."
Born in İzmir in 1974, Berna Gençalp holds a BA degree in Film and Television from Eskişehir Anadolu University and an MA degree in Film and Television from İstanbul Bilgi University. She has attended international workshops on scriptwriting at Mediterranean Film Institute in Greece and Katapult in Hungary. With her script The Wig Story, she was invited to the Berlin Film Festival Talent Campus and the Antalya Film Festival. She has named and held various positions within Canlandıranlar, the independent animation film festival that aims to promote animation art in Turkey, since its start in 2008. In 2014, she presented a paper on “Construction of the Self in Kerime Nadir and Agatha Christie: I am not your cliché” at the international symposium entitled “Women’s Lives: Auto/biography, Life Narratives, Myths and Historiography” organized by Yeditepe University and the Women’s Library and Information Center. Gençalp is mainly interested in gender studies, contemporary art and music, and has worked as a freelance editor and a writer for various publications. Her poetry has also appeared in various literary journals. She lives and works in Istanbul as a writer and director.
The MASP Grant will support Berna Gençalp to develop the “source website” as a transmedia project, which will feature a compilation of in-depth interviews with expert art historians and archival documents on Painter Mihri’s life as well as the artist’s works. Mihri (1886-1954) is an artist from Istanbul who spent many years of her life in Europe and the USA, and weaved many bridges between Istanbul, Europe, and the USA through her art and her life. Positioned as an interactive platform for viewers from all over the world to contribute to the discussions and communicate, Kim Mihri / Who is Mihri aims to activate the efforts of Mihri as an artist and an art educator.
Visual of the news item about Roosevelt portrait is provided from Özlem Gülin Dağoğlu Archive. 

"Silk Road Songbook" by Arzu Ozkal & Millie Chen

"Conveying the presence of history at each location is important. Land molds culture; culture generates landscape and song; song refers to the land."
Arzu Özkal, an interdisciplinary artist, designer, and researcher, and Associate Professor in the School of Art & Design at San Diego State University, holds a BFA degree in Graphic Design from Bilkent University, and an MFA degree in Computer Art from State University of New York. She is mainly focused on the role of design in looking for forms of creative outcomes through social participation. She has done extensive work with women from Turkey, Europe and the U.S. to design platforms for social exchange. She is the co-editor of Gün: Women's Networks, a DIY book project investigating informal networks and their extension into digital media with the aim of gaining an understanding of the sociocultural conditions impacting women's participation in contemporary culture, which received a Moon and Stars Project Grant in 2013. Turkish by birth, Özkal lived and studied in Turkey prior to coming to the U.S. in 2003. Özkal’s collaborator is Millie Chen, Professor of Art at University at Buffalo, State University of New York, who creates audio and performative works that are intended as sensorial experiences that prod the perceptual and ideological assumptions of the audience. Chen immigrated to Canada from China as a child but has frequently traveled to China for cultural and academic residencies, and to visit family.

With the support of the MASP Grant, Arzu Özkal will fund the main production trip of theSilk Road Songbook (SRS), a socially engaged, participatory project intended to facilitate the creation of grassroots songs that speak specifically to local concerns, giving voice to participating individuals who are part of the communities that still live along the route. To acknowledge the perspectives that Özkal and Chen bring to the Silk Road Songbook project, it’s important to point out that while they are both based in and committed to their adopted homes in the West, they also remain connected to their respective ancestral lands and cultures, places that are key locations on the project route.
In fall 2017, Özkal and Chen embarked on research trips to Xi’an, Kashgar, Tashkent, Istanbul, Bursa, Ankara, Tehran, and Isfahan to make initial visits to locations, meet with respective communities, and make preliminary contact with individuals who are interested in working with them. In Istanbul, they have met with musicians from three generations, and diverse musical backgrounds, Aslı Akıncı Alpert (Tamponx), Seyyal Taner, and Selda Bağcan. In December 2019, they will meet one last time with these musicians, and work together in the recording studio for a week to create an original song. This collaboration will result in two interrelated productions: an immersive audio-video installation that is composed of songs and landscape; and a “songbook” publication that contains the lyrics and notes of the songs, records the journeys and conveys participants’ stories.

"Ahstray" by Damla Su Ozer & Marinca Nederovique

"The main objective of this piece is to examine multi-nationality and the marriage of two cultures within one individual."

Su Özer is a singer, songwriter and producer. She is the 2014 recipient of the Arif Mardin Fellowship at Berklee College of Music. Özer won the chance to perform in Poland due to the Nardis Young Jazz Vocalist competition. However, that same year she received the Arif Mardin Scholarship, and she ended up choosing to go to Berklee for a 5-week Summer Program on full merit scholarship. 

The MASP Grant will cover the pre-production costs of the project Ahstray, created by Su Özer and Marinca Nederovique, intended to express the duality of a generation of people who left where they were born and integrated themselves into another culture. Özer and Nederovique believe that inner-workings of immigration of the millennial generation has not been tapped into enough as a creative resource. In this regard, Ahstray is set out to achieve a cohesive narrative that looks deeper into the duality of cultures within an individual.

The production will meet the audience in New York through two individual performances of the same piece in January 2020. Ahstray is oriented around two artists. The 40-minute special is a one-scene affair revolving around the lives of these artists who are international women living in the United States. The themes the production pulls from include love, loss, dynamics between men and women, the inner-workings of a female friendship, immigration, and assimilation.