31 October 2010 / HATİCE AHSEN UTKU, İSTANBUL for TODAYS ZAMAN
an interview with Joanna M. Wezyk
“The Ottoman Empire had a huge influence in Poland and in this part of Europe,” says Wezyk. “I grew up near castles, some of which had preserved a lot of Turkish jewelry or costumes. Coming to İstanbul, especially the harem and Topkapı Palace, and looking at the carpets and piles, they looked so familiar and unfamiliar to me at the same time. It was so inspirational for me.(…) When I researched about Harem, I realized the power of woman that many of them possessed as a wives or the mothers of a sultan.
“As I read about the history of Turkey I got more involved in the cultural aspects of this place. I came back to read the book that I’d read three years ago: Orhan Pamuk’s ‘İstanbul.’ There’s a part he talks about the difference between hüzün [sorrow] and melancholy. His were very similar to my own memories growing up in Krakow as we also had an empire once.