25’ 19’’, 2020, Turkish (with English subtitles)
Camera and editing: Sibel Tekin
Subtitle translation: Gözde Onaran
(The Human Rights Monument seen in the film is designed by Metin Yurdanur.)
In Ankara, there is a statue at the crossroads of Yüksel Avenue and Konur Street. The Human Rights Monument stands there since 10th December 1990. It is not one of those monumental colonialist statues all around the world that are being toppled by people nowadays. It stands with the people, almost at the same height with them. In Sibel Tekin’s The Statue, people remember, remind and express themselves together with and right beside it. Tekin, who is a member of Seyr-i Sokak Video-Activist Collective – founded right after Gezi Uprising, offers a compilation of protests that happen around this statue from 2013 to 2020’s pandemic period. As years pass by, new items are added to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that the statue holds in its hand, it was put on different clothes, holding different flags… The statue became a comrade for protestors from various political backgrounds. And suitably, after academician Nuriye Gülmen and teacher Semih Özakça were taken into custody in 2017 while there were on hunger strike to get their jobs back, the statue was also ‘arrested’, as it was surrounded by police blockades. Tekin’s film is not about a statue’s story of surviving 10 October [The Ankara Massacre], the state of emergency period, legislative decrees, blockades and viruses; but a story of people transforming its ‘surroundings’ into a space of collective memory, rights struggle, political will and expression.
Sibel Tekin graduated from Ankara University’s Faculty of Communications in 1999. In 2000, she worked at TRT Ankara Television Documentary Programming Department as a producer and assistant director. In 2004, she worked as an editor at TRT Ankara Television Editing Department. She has been working at Hacettepe University’s Faculty of Communication Production Workshop since 2007. Tekin’s work is focused on documentary cinema and video-activism. She is also a member of Seyr-i Sokak video-activism collective. Recently she co-directed Tell Me, Where Will Death Fall (2019), a documentary about the massacres in Turkey’s recent history, with Gül Büyükbeşe.
This film is produced for Altyazı Fasikül: Free Cinema’s Looking Outside series. Following the first screening of the video, a live conversation (in Turkish) with Sibel Tekin was realized.