Street Art in Karakoy

Since moving to Istanbul, I’ve said many times that I need to explore more neighborhoods. I told myself to frequent the Asian side of Istanbul more often. I told myself that I need to enjoy the many cafes Cihangir has to offer.

I needed a walk today. I needed to get out of my apartment. I decided what I really needed was art.

Mid-January, Global Karakoy opened with a Banksy exhibit. It closes at the end of February. Since time is always escaping us, I decided today was the day.

A couple of my friends had gone and enjoyed the exhibit. I read a couple articles and reviews before heading over (none of which I can now find to share). To paraphrase, one said that even if you don’t know Banksy, you know Banksy. Everyone will recognize his work. Another said that the gallery opening was a commentary on today’s society. Patrons walked through taking pictures, proving that people feel that they haven’t fully experienced something until it has been digitally recorded.

The first statement rang true to me. I didn’t know much about Banksy, so I enjoyed reading up on him before attending the exhibit. That said, I definitely recognized his art.

The second statement just made me feel like a schmuck. Most exhibits don’t allow photography. I was excited that I could take pictures at Global, so I did… Shame on me…

I loved the way the gallery was set up to represent the streets of London. Even the bathroom was covered in graffiti. I can’t imagine the work it will require to prepare for the next exhibit.

On the way to Karakoy, I saw what seemed to be an appropriate introduction to my day:


Here are some highlights from the Banksy exhibit:

Highlights of Banksy

I love it! When you zoom in on the expressions of the people, the alien invasion totally fits!


I was so strongly affected by the piece on the left, but I felt awful taking a picture of it. Does it make me one of those photographers in the piece? Sure made me think about myself AND the media…

I spent the remainder of my afternoon wandering around Karakoy. I walked through the boutiques (and refrained from buying everything… Especially at Cicekisleri…), strolled by the Bosphorus, and warmed up in cafe Tohum reading my book and munching on Gozleme.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: It’s important to feel that I LIVE in Istanbul rather than just working in Istanbul. This city has so much life that needs to be explored and uncovered. I’m thankful for a day to finally wander through Karakoy, a neighborhood that patiently waited in my backyard for a year and a half. I cannot wait to wander through the streets and stroll through more galleries soon.


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