Istanbul’s Art International Fair Cancels 2016 Edition

"We listened to our customers," its co-founder says.

Visitors to Art International in 2014.
Photo courtesy Art International.

Art International, an art fair launched in Istanbul in 2013, has canceled its 2016 edition in the wake of violence and unrest in Turkey over the last year, according to an announcement on the fair’s website. It was to take place September 23-25 at the Haliç Convention Center, on the banks of Istanbul’s Golden Horn.

Istanbul has suffered a string of terrorist attacks in recent months, some tied to Islamic State militants. The deadliest took place in October 2015, as suicide bombers killed about 100 people at a peace rally in Ankara. In March, four people were killed on Turkey’s main avenue by a Turkish member of Islamic State.

Art International 2015.Photo: Honeybunn Photography, courtesy Art International.

Art International 2015.
Photo: Honeybunn Photography, courtesy Art International.

“We will be back, and with a much stronger offering,” pledged co-founder Sandy Angus, of London event organizer Angus Montgomery, in a phone conversation, also acknowledging that the country’s troubles led to the decision. “People are nervous about going to Turkey at the moment. Tourist numbers have dropped dramatically. Galleries, in particular, were saying it’s a time to pause and see what’s happening. So we listened to our customers.”

Angus Montgomery also oversees events including the Affordable Art Fair Hong Kong, and Surface Design Show in London.

The fair, which is helmed by Dyala Nusseibeh and co-founded by Yeşim Avunduk, included 87 galleries from 27 countries last year, and was strongly international, with just 13 exhibitors from Turkey. The 2015 roster included major galleries like Paul Kasmin (New York), Galerie Krinzinger (Vienna), Pearl Lam (Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Singapore), and Victoria Miro (London). Notable Istanbul galleries like Dirimart and Rampa also participated. The fair had topped 32,000 visitors at its 2015 edition, up from 22,000 in 2014.

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