The American born Istanbul based Nancy Atakan has been an active figure in the Istanbul arts scene since 1970s not only as an artist but also a teacher and art historian. Atakan’s practice spans a multimedia approach encompassing installation, video, photography, digital printing, neon and text. In her work, the artist incorporates references to femininity, gender politics, memory, globalization and relationship between image and word. 


Often autobiographical, these subjects are relevant to her personally as an American who has lived and worked in the metropolis of Istanbul. All of her work involves research, collaboration and dialogue as it incorporates observations of current events and also references to the history and culture of Istanbul. Permeated with touches of lightness, historical narratives and weighty issues within her work are brought closer to everyday life.


Believing the art arena to be a space for experimentation and developing models, as part of her art practice, she co-founded in 2007 the Istanbul based art initiative and project space, 5533. Located in the Istanbul Textile Traders Market in Unkapani neighborhood, the space hosts workshops, screening, exhibitions, and performances.

Nancy Atakan is also author of the two art history books; Searching for Alternatives in Art (2008, Karakalem, Turkey) and Searching for Alternatives to Painting and Sculpture (1998, Yapi Kredi, Turkey).


In 2015, Passing On, a full colour monograph on works by the artist, edited by Art Critic and Curator Nat Muller from Netherlands, has been published by the important art publisher Kehrer Verlag from Heidelberg and Berlin, Germany.