Known as the pioneer of an artistic movement that connects street art with rural art (land art), Guillaume Legros, also known as Saype (an abbreviation created from the words Say and Peace), has started the İstanbul leg of the Beyond Walls project with a press conference. Çağdaş Yıldız, Director of Corporate Relations and Communication from Beşiktaş Municipality attended the press conference held at Boğaziçi University Albert Long Hall at 11.00, which Beşiktaş Mayor Rıza Akpolat could not attend due to his positive covid test.  

In addition to Yıldız, İBB Kültür A.Ş. Cultural Activities Manager Esra Koraltan, Advisor to the Rector of Boğaziçi Prof. Dr. Zafer Yenal, Consul General of Switzerland in Istanbul Julien Thöni, and Consul General of France in Istanbul Olivier Gauvin also participated. The project is carried out with the support of İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality, Kültür A.Ş., Beşiktaş Municipality, Boğaziçi University, Consulate General of Switzerland, Institut français Turquie, and UPS.

Starting his speech at the press conference, Saype thanked those who contributed to the realization of the project;

"We want to mobilize our ideas, try to share our values, our beliefs. It is a great honor for me to be here. I owe a special thank you to Beşiktaş Municipality, who supported me with passion / who was a pillar of support from the very beginning. If it was not for Beşiktaş Municipality and my other supporters, this project would not have come to light. Art has great importance, it goes beyond the language barrier, and real connections can only be made and created with art. We are in such a period in İstanbul that there are polarizations as in many places. However, if we act together, we can deal with the problems ahead. Because we are in a world that is very connected to everything. Just like dominoes. That is why, to find solutions to problems, we must act together with an identity formed by a common voice. Could it be a more meaningful symbol to form a human chain than hands that are clenched? Here we want to transcend mental boundaries, not physical, and unfortunately, we have limits in our minds since human history. "

Speaking about the project, Beşiktaş Municipality's Corporate Relations and Communication Director Çağdaş Yıldız thanked the participants and read the message of Beşiktaş Mayor Rıza Akpolat, who could not attend the event because his Covid-19 test was positive. The following phrases were included in the message that Yıldız read;

‘As we stepped into 2020, the size of the problems in the world was gradually growing. While tensions, conflicts, polarization in societies, trade wars, and economic problems between countries and regions were waiting for solutions, the pandemic affected the whole world in a way we never expected, causing a global crisis and almost completely changed our lives. We found ourselves in an experience, unlike any other currently alive generation. In the grip of the unknown, we have struggled hard to protect our loved ones and those we are responsible for, and the struggle continues. In times like this, we need the healing and unifying power of art more than ever. But during this period, unfortunately, culture and art that will ensure our well-being are also going through difficult times.  

Cultural institutions are obliged to postpone or cancel their activities. Those who can, are taking their work to digital. As Beşiktaş Municipality, we organized socially distant activities in our parks throughout the summer to prevent the feeling of being stuck from turning into a depression due to the pandemic.

Wherever possible, we tried to ensure the participation of our neighbors in cultural life and to keep the interaction alive between the artists and the audience. We wanted to help our people heal with art. As UNESCO highlighted, similar to all crises, this pandemic revealed the need for culture and arts for people and communities. 

Culture brings us together at a time when billions of people are physically separated; it inspires us and gives hope when uncertainty and anxiety arise. For this reason, we try to hold onto art in Beşiktaş. Now, in İstanbul, within the borders of Beşiktaş, we are hosting a very genius artist and his work that makes us feel hope and unity deeply. Who is encouraging us with the figure of a girl from the Alps...

Enabling us to face the refugee crisis, the shame of humanity, with the message he gave from the shore of Lake Geneva...

With his drawing covering 6 acres, reminding us that we should look in the same direction as humanity after this crisis ...

Saype, who without exception, makes us question our place in society and the planet. We are very happy to host one of the greatest names of land art and his art here, at one of the leading universities of our district and our country.

Intending to create the world's largest human chain, after cities such as Paris, Andorra, Geneva, Berlin, and Turin, Saype's "Beyond the Walls" project’s current stop is İstanbul. It makes us proud that one of the pillars of this bridge between people and cultures rises from Beşiktaş.

As dear Saype says, art is a universal language that can touch people's souls. And we can create change only by acting together.

That's why we say; Beşiktaş is stronger together!

I greet you all with love and respect. '

İstanbul is the eighth stop of Saype's global Beyond the Walls project launched in June 2019. The project, which previously took place in cities such as Paris, Geneva, Berlin, and Turin, was born out of encounterings and the desire to pass the world's largest human chain through Istanbul. In this sense, it is a collaborative and multilateral project. The artist creates his works with paint made of chalk and coal, of which he is the inventor. The city of Istanbul, at the crossroads of the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, is a vital stop for an artist whose monumental works aim to build bridges between cultures.

The gigantic hands of the universal folk dance created by the French artist living in Switzerland, after bringing the continents of Europe and Africa together, this time will come to the European side of the Bosphorus and cross the strait to reach the Asian shores. Thus, it will continue to draw a great chain of brotherhood that encompasses the West and the East, from city to city, continent to continent.

The exhibition, which met with the audience on October 26 at Taksim Sanat (Taksim metro entrance), will remain open until 8 November 2020. Also, these artworks will be exhibited in the Institut Français Turkey's Istiklal Street front facade from November 7, 2020.

To discover photos and videos: www.saype-artiste.com/presse

 For further information about Saype: www.saype-artiste.com