Baksi Museum

Feride Çelik


Baksi Museum

Bayraktar village Bayburt Turkey

Bayburt, Turkey

European Museum Forum / Council of Europe Museum Prize 2014

The Utopia That Comes True: Baksi

Baksi Museum, settled on a hilltop overlooking the Çoruh Valley in Bayburt in Northern Anatolia has new suggestions for the art world and questions the dependency of contemporary art to large centers, as well as the relationship between culture and production, art and craft, traditional and modern.

1baks2 xIn Baksi Museum, a high quality contemporary art collection, an anonymous paintings collection that includes all major samples and original examples of local handcraft are side by side. Before anything, the museum is a cultural center of interaction that brings traditional and contemporary art together for the artists and researchers… However, revitalizing a shattered cultural scene due to high levels of immigration and to develop projects to contribute to the sustainability of cultural memory, organizing workshops aiming to improve women employment in the region and to enable the local people to reach financial resources to sustain their lives in the area they live in are the main focus of the Baksi Culture and Art Foundation.

Contemporary art and tradition hand in hand

Baksi Museum, which spreads on 4 acres includes exhibition halls, workshops, a conference hall, a library and a guest house. Its launching exhibit included the work of 16 contemporary artists. These artists came up with a wide range of artwork focusing on “tradition and art” from painting to statues, video and installation. Some of these works are today on display in Warehouse-Museum.

Baksi Museum’s 2012-2013 events were held under the theme of “Distance and Contact”. Four different curators were at work for four different areas, namely art, design, fashion and food.

Contemporary art exhibit that was put together with young artists was planned to be open to all art disciplines. Fourteen young talents from industrial design and architecture departments from the universities were brought together for this project.

The curators made their selection of the artists and artworks based on the dialogue Baksi would have with the local people. Young designers created their original designs after studying Baksi in terms of economy, ecology, social structure and cultural data.

The curators and artists of Fashion Design designed items and accessories both for exhibition and marketing purposes to provide financial support to the budget. They incorporated the textile materials manufactured by the local women in Baksi workshops in their special collections.
Culinary Design aimed to study and regenerate the traditional culinary culture of the museum region through cooperation with local women.

Contribution to the economy and social life

On the one hand Baksi Museum opens into discussion concepts like center and periphery, art and society, tradition and modernity, cultural limits and diversity, existence and ‘returning home’ and on the other hand, aims to revive the economic life in Bayburt, one of the regions with highest immigration rates in Turkey.

To cope with this, Baksi Contemporary Art Workshop provides an environment suitable for work for the artists from all around Turkey and the world.

Building textile workshops aiming continuous manufacturing while encouraging especially the women and the youngsters to take part in economic life was part of the museum plans since the beginning; and was a priority for Baksi Culture and Art Foundation which brought the museum into life.

Alternative sources of income in the region are scarce which causes a continuous emigration from the countryside. To cope with this, Baksi Culture and Art Foundation launched two projects in 2011-2012, namely “Weaving the Future” and “Anatolia in the Warp” the former aiming to revive the manufacturing of a local textile product: ehram and the latter focusing on reviving, modernizing and spreading rug manufacturing as an alternative source of income.

Vocational training in Museum-workshop

“Weaving the Future” project of the Museum, which became part of State Planning Organization’s Social Support Program, focuses on vocational trainings.

With improvements in its curriculum and additional phases, one of the most important aspects of the project will be the reinterpretation of the traditional textile product (ehram) based on today’s needs and expectations. Baksi Culture and Art Foundation aims to enrich this local textile product with a contemporary design approach and on the other hand, it aims to become a facilitator by providing special marketing support.
Through the project considered a “model practice” for the region, it is aimed to include the women in the neighboring villages into economic life as active manufacturers.

1baks3xArtists’ weavings

Baksi Museum realizes its mission of bringing the traditional and the contemporary together, the local and the universal through various projects.

Art fest for children

While constantly developing its relationship with its surrounding, the Baksi Museum puts great emphasis on children’s activities in its events calendar. “The First Bayburt Students’ Art Fest” which will take place in June 2013 is a result of this approach…
The Festival calls on entire Bayburt and brings primary and elementary school students together with art through painting contest, kids’ art workshops and various shows.
Fifteen most successful students in the contest will be rewarded a year-long scholarship by Baksi Culture and Art Foundation.

The Students’ Art Fest will be held each year and the scholarships will continue.

Baksi “Museum of the Year”

Baksi Museum wins “Museum of the Year Award” for 2014, given by European Council Parliamentary Assembly. After the voting of European Council Parliamentary Assembly, Commission of Culture, which is realized on 3rd of December in Paris, Baksi Museum wins the most prestigious museum award. Museum will exhibit Joan Miro’s bronze statuette, the symbol of the competition, for one year in Bayburt.

And the plans for the future…

In the upcoming period, Baksi Museum will launch a new initiative for culture tourism.

Baksi Museum, a new and different center of interest in the region, would like to become a pioneer in culture and nature tourism. On the one hand, the Museum is restructuring its rest house and on the other hand, it is launching village pensions. These efforts aiming to promote the region are expected to contribute to tourism and socio-economic development of the region.

In the coming period, Baksi Museum plans to hold national and international workshops, summer academies and a comprehensive statue symposium.

Projects addressing the women, children and youth and big biannual exhibitions will also continue. All these efforts aim to reach out to larger crowds and to increase the contribution in particular to the women, children and youth.


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