Thursday, July 18, 2013

BALLOONING ACROSS MENTAL LANDSCAPES: Novelty of travel in Cappadocia provides different terrains

Hallelujah for perspective and for viewing our lives in a myriad of ways! Hallelujah for the foreign terrain that we confront both willingly and unwillingly as we venture forth courageously in what is ours to claim and proclaim!
CAPPADOCIAN ALIEN (photo by Tony Martin)
In June 2013 during our visit to Turkey, my darling Chiboogamoo (aka Tony Martin) and I were awakened every morning around 4:00 AM by the Muslim call to prayer. It was no different in Goreme. The plaintive voice echoing over the tips of Cappadocian hills made of sand-colored tuff caused Chiboogamoo to climb out of bed, grab his camera, and capture the hot air balloon adventurers rising along with the sun over the transfixing landscape that has been so terrifically altered by nature and humans over the centuries (see my previous blog on Cappadocia).
ALTERED PERSPECTIVES. Seeing is a way of BEING. For me, traveling is such a wonderful privilege. To have the opportunity to see such a foreign or "alien" terrain as the one that Cappadocia offers is life altering. Perhaps the change is not in the dramatic fashion that one witnesses in Hollywood movies, but the alteration is subtle and profound. Alien-scapes are ALTARS for celebrating the SOUL! I now "own" this Cappadocian terrain in my mind, heart, and body, thus making it available for SYMBOLIC use to understand the intangible!  (art by Hallelujah Truth)
DRIFTING THOUGHT (photo by Tony Martin)
What is the function of BEING AN ALIEN--or a stranger in a strange land? We access new thoughts, and like these Cappadocian hot air balloons, they float through our consciousness into a memory, a thought, a new symbol. Symbols embody meaning that is difficult to access if you have limited worldly experience. Therefore flying in high above or trekking through rocky Turkish landscapes in searing heat under blue skies anchors our perceptions to the concrete experiential senses.

SEEING old symbols in new contexts also enlivens! I have long been an admirer of the "evil eye," an amulet that protects its owner from misfortune.  Yet to the Cappadocian landscape through a tree draped in evil eye amulets thrilled me! I started seeing multiple hot air balloons drifting in a mini-Cappadocian landscape. I envisioned my thoughts drifting away like hot air balloons with the evil eye on each one!

TRANSPORTING THOUGHT. I, Hallelujah Truth, always start with the familiar, wherever I am, no matter what environment I inhabit. I begin with what I know in order to bridge the "difference" and what is "alien." Here is the SYMBOL I use to represent the masculine energy in my psyche. I love it that he wanted to ride in the carriage of the hot air balloon decorated with the visage of Hallelujah Truth! (art by Hallelujah Truth)
THE ORDINARY BECOMING THE PROFOUND. As each hot air balloon rose over the Cappadocian landscape, I felt a thrill run up and down my spine! Thought rising, another thought rising, releasing, moving, hovering over for me to view. These hot air balloons were just like meditation.Yet, it was alsofun to imagine the perspectives that the balloon riders were having as they rode in their individual balloons. Did they perceive me and Chiboogamoo photographing them? (photo by Tony Martin)
CAVE CHURCH ART.  I cannot help but make the connection of the hot air balloons in the Cappadocian sky to the heads of these saints as portrayed on the walls of the Cappadocian caves. Do you? (photo by Hallelujah Truth)
WHITE HAIRED JESUS. (photo by Hallelujah Truth)
MORE DRIFTING THOUGHT (photo by Tony Martin)

HALLELUJAH TRUTH wearing evil eyes! (photo by Tom Meyers)
Dear readers! Dear fellow SOUL PILGRIMS! That is Coffee with Hallelujah! Soul blog with me and tell me what your experiences are of journeying in alien-scapes, watching your thoughts with new perspectives, and wondering about other people's perspectives. My Chiboogamoo and I did not ride in a hot air balloon, primarily because of the expense, but we also felt we didn't need the actual experience of riding in a hot air balloon. Our imaginations are that rich! How about yours? Would you ride in the balloon?

Monday, July 15, 2013

ENSOULED LANDSCAPE: Cappadocia, Turkey invites IMAGINATION and engagement of the SPIRIT

LANDSCAPE ALTERED BY HUMANS (art by Hallelujah Truth 2013)
Hallelujah for this beautiful fascinating EARTH! Hallelujah for the country of Turkey and all of its WONDERS--especially CAPPADOCIA!

CAPPADOCIA CAVE HOUSES. (photo by Tony Martin 2013)
In my previous blog entries about Turkey, I sang praises of the Blue Mosque, Gallata Bridge, and Aya Sofya, which are all magnificent human made architectural structures. In this blog entry, I am celebrating the magical geological structures altered by the denizens of Cappadocia over centuries of inhabiting this fantastical landscape.

INHABITING THE CAPPADOCIAN LANDSCAPE. Here I am! Hallelujah Truth inhabiting the Cappadocian landscape! For those readers familiar with my art, Hallelujah Truth (pictured at the bottom of this image) represents multiple ideas. Her skirt represents geological strata, which in turn symbolizes to me deep geological time and my participation in that deep time. The red dots on Hallelujah Truth's blouse stand for ephemeral "energy" of being human and our life's blood. The crown of flowers is a "diadem," a holy crown representative of that intangible "spirit" which is difficult to comprehend. The black and white figure sprouting from my shoulder is my depiction of Wandjina, an Aboriginal creation god. I allow Wandjina to represent my "animus," or masculine part of my psyche. The animal stretched out in my lap is a wallaby and is present to hold my vulnerability in all of its manifestations. So! Drawing Hallelujah Truth at the foot of the Cappadocian mystical cave structures was a must! These light colored hills and towers with their dark openings seemed to resonate with the philosophy of Hallelujah Truth...human spirit engaged with deep geologic time!  (art by Hallelujah Truth 2013)
INVITING MYSTERY.  Who among us would not want to wander down this path and peer into the doorway? What is there? (photo by Tony Martin 2013)
In Cappadocia, natural landscape and human imagination intersect. Many small towns make up the region of Cappadocia, and my Chiboogamoo and I stayed in the town of Goreme in the Sultan Cave Hotel, and yes our room was carved out of one these wonderful rock formations!

The proprietor of our hotel suggested that our first act of tourism in Cappadocia be visiting the Open-Air Museum, which functioned as a Byzantine monastery and then became a destination for pilgrims in the 17th Century (thank you Lonely Planet). After walking down the hill from our hotel for 15 minutes and then up another hill for 15 minutes under a penetrating desert sun, passing a hotel with a swimming pool, a colorful souvenir market at the car park, and a proprietor offering camel rides, we arrived at this Turkish World heritage site.
TRIBUTE TO MARY.  Religious art graced many of the caves and ranged from extremely sophisticated to primitive. Much of the art had been defaced over time as religions changed in the region. In many of the caves, tourists were asked not to take photographs. In my art, I included Mary, mother of Jesus, in the the landscape to honor the feminine spirit of creation. In addition, having seen numerous women in hijabs and burkas, I was envisioning women every where in the Cappadocian landscape! (art by Hallelujah Truth 2013)
CONTRASTS. What is so inviting about stark contrasts? Why is it that we long to climb through holes, either entering from light in to darkness or the reverse? (photo by Tony Martin 2013)
The acts of scurrying up and down these hills and climbing into the caves, stooping to peer into other caves, standing at the nave of churches and studying faces of saints and Jesus looking down at us submerged both my Chiboogamoo and I deep into history, geology, and the quest of expressing the spirit. 

Tiring from the blazing sun, I rested outside of one of the caves as my husband ascended yet another long stairway to access it. As I lounged on a rock under an apricot tree, the breeze gently shook the branches overhead and ripe fruit gently landed in my lap and around my feet. I was struck by the stark contrast of experiencing NOW in relation to DEEP TIME as I dusted off an apricot and bit into it, juice running over my fingers and down my chin.

These geologic formations that have been so altered by human history were formed more than 30 million years ago by volcanic eruptions. The volcanic ash that hardened over time and became what is called "tuff" by geolgists was soft enough to be carved out by rivers gushing through the valleys and rain. Then humans (the Hittites) began to alter this tuff as early as 1800 BC. 

The Cappadocian landscape is continuing to be altered today by humans as tourism is on the rise and adventurers seek the novelty that this central region of Turkey provides. That is Coffee with Hallelujah! SOUL BLOG with me and tell me what you think of these fantastical geological structures and my creative response to them. Will your travels bring you to Goreme?
CONTEMPLATION OF CAPPADOCIA #1. (photo by Tony Martin 2013)
CONTEMPLATION OF CAPPADOCIA #2. (art by Hallelujah Truth)

PANORAMA OF GOREME. You can view the fantastical landscape from where we stayed at the Sultan Cave Hotel in Goreme. It was a magical place to be. Everyone in this region was friendly and helpful. (photo by Tony Martin)
ENSOULED LANDSCAPE! Hallelujah for travel and experiencing the energy of foreign geology and people! For me, Cappadocia is an "ensouled" landscape. (art by Hallelujah Truth 2013)

Monday, July 8, 2013

AN ARCHITECTURAL FEAT: The Aya Sofya transcends TIME and exalts the SPIRIT!

TIMELESSNESS EXPRESSED IN ARCHITECTURE. Some times we can experience how small we are in the vastness of time and space. Yet, at the same time, we might feel part of this infinity of BEING. Here I am (right front dressed in white), looking up at the light coming in from the windows and at the construction maintaining this ancient holy place that now functions as a museum. (photo by Tony Martin)
Hallelujah for monuments that exalt the SPIRIT and withstand TIME! Hallelujah for the Aya Sofya in Instanbul, Turkey! Dear FELLOW PILGRIMS, I am writing you from the Ibis Hotel in Amsterdam, overnighting on a layover before returning home to Atlanta from Constantinople!

Architecture can tell you so much about a culture! I find myself amused at being in this mega Dutch complex, only an airport hotel, but more like a tiny city. Ibis houses two restaurants, a bar, cafe, and shops. The desk from which I'm sitting and looking out the window at rabbits on the manicured lawn, is modular, just like the bed, closest, and bathroom--all snapped into place. This is transitory housing for the roving hoards. The check-in clerk is more like an activity adviser consulting travelers about their "consumer" interests before "placing" them into a room for the night! In July 2013, we have constructed TEMPORARY architectural structures!
SUMMER NIGHT IN FRONT OF AYA SOFYA. Architectural feats like the Blue Mosque and Aya Sofya are magnets, attracting everyone visiting Istanbul to their interiors and exteriors. It is fascinating to sit on one of the numerous benches on a summer night in front of the Blue Mosque and watch all the visitors lingering in the presence of these awesome structures. (photo by Tony Martin)
And the Aya Sofya? It endures! Can you believe that this magnificent structure was completed in 537 and has endured in various forms until now, more than 14 centuries later! How? The sublime marriage of SPIRIT and ART! 

When I studied about the Aya Sofya as a primary school student in the 1960's, we learned the Greek name of the church, "Haghia Sofia," and that it meant "Church of Divine Wisdom" in English. And the DIVINITY that has been worshiped here has changed over the centuries.

Aya Sofya was built as a Christian church in the 6th century and according to my trusty Lonely Planet travel guide, it was the "greatest church in Christendom" until the middle of the 15th century.
CENTURIES OF CELEBRATING THE SPIRIT. Built as an architectural wonder in the 6th century to worship Christ, Aya Sofya became a Muslim mosque after the Conquest in 1453. An ecstatic dissonance occurs when viewing the merging of these two religions in this architectural space. (photo by Tony Martin)

ALWAYS BEING RENOVATED. Ancient structures require constant upkeep. TIME is present in the Aya Sofya. And I felt how EPHEMERAL our human life is. (photo by Tony Martin)
The Aya Sofya underwent a significant transformation after the conquest. Mehmet the Conqueror turned the Christian church into a place to worship Islam. The Aya Sofya was a mosque until Ataturk made it a museum, which it remains today. 


UNCOVERED CHRISTIAN MURALS. During the time that Aya Sofya was a mosque, the Christian imagery was plastered over. Restorations have uncovered some of them.
As with many ancient buildings in Istanbul, Aya Sofya has gone through many incarnations. If I understood it correctly, the Aya Sofya has burned down twice in its history. In addition to the scaffolding and ongoing structural repairs, my geologist husband, Tony Martin, alerted me to the "faux" building stones. Because of the splendor of the mosaics, light, Arabic prayers, and throngs of visitors, recognizing that these "building stones" were in fact artificial would not be something the average person would notice.
FAUX BUILDING STONES.  Notice the regularity of the patterning on the slabs of "stones" in this photo? They are paintings.
WHAT IS REAL? WHAT IS ILLUSION? And how does ART play a role in creating a NEW reality through ILLUSION? In the image directly below, you can observe "real" building stones. I marvel at the attention that was given to designing the walls with alternating patterns from authentic stone slabs. It is difficult to fathom the minds of the ARTISTS who constructed these intricately patterned walls!
AWESOMENESS! There I am, Hallelujah Truth, dwarfed by the immensity of the ARCHITECTURE! To my left is a faux arch and more faux stone. Who would notice it in this MARVELOUS structure?
That's Coffee With Hallelujah! SOUL BLOG with me and tell me what you think of these images from the Aya Sofya! Of TIMELESSNESS and INFINITY. How ART can MAGNIFY us all as individuals and humanity. Have you been there? If not! What then?
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS: Deep thanks to my husband, who I fondly call Chiboogamoo. He is a superior and loving travel companion. If possible find one like him to take with you everywhere. I feel loved and supported by this man whether it be in the Aya Sofya, on a field trip in Canakkale looking at trace fossils, or in an airport hotel in Amsterdam. Chiboogamoo, aka Tony Martin, is pictured above. Many thanks to the kindness and generosity of the Turkish people we met on our journey. We felt welcomed by the people of Turkey and will want to return in the future. (photo by Hallelujah Truth)

Friday, July 5, 2013

BRIDGING ISTANBUL: Exploring by foot the Galata Bridge and Tower and another culture

GALATA BRIDGE, ISTANBUL, TURKEY, JUNE 2013. (photo by Chiboogamoo, aka Tony Martin)
Hallelujah for EXPLORATION! Hallelujah for exploring a city by foot! My Chiboogamoo and I descended from the Sultanahmet, where we had visited the Blue Mosque, Aya Sofya, and Basilica Cistern, in search of the Galata Bridge and for a fish sandwich!
ALONG THE SHORE OF THE SULTANAHMET. Walking along the shore, we found people pushing baby strollers, picnicking on green lawns with samovars, bathers by the water, and lots of fast moving cars. We had yet to come around the curve where we could view the Galata Bridge. (photo by Hallelujah Truth)

CONSTANT TRAFFIC ON THE SEA! The Bosphorus provides another means of transportation for Istanbul. Ships are constantly skimming its surface. (photo by Hallelujah Truth)
Our search for a fish sandwich on the left side of the Galata Bridge threw us into the sea of Turkish and international tourists looking for the same thing. We were surprised to learn that the "restaurant" we were looking for consisted of three boats anchored next to the Galata Bridge. The fish was being cooked aboard these rocking vessels and to buy the sandwiches we had to navigate through crowds of fish sandwich eaters lucky enough to find a seat under the awnings. My Chiboogamoo and I decided to sit on stairs in this crowded area to eat our 3 dollar fish sandwiches. Not a bad view--eh?
LEFT OF THE GALATA BRIDGE. For fun, when you are on a trip, talk to other travelers. They will inevitably give you a task to achieve that you would have otherwise never considered. We went in search of this destination because of some Australians we spoke to at breakfast recommended that we do it.  Why not? (photo by Hallelujah Truth)

PURCHASING FISH SANDWICHES.  Yes, that is me asking how much is a fish sandwich. I did not see overhead the price in Turkish liras--6TL! You can see the men cooking in the next boat over, right behind me. (photo by Chiboogamoo)
After finishing our fish sandwiches, our next goal was to walk across the bridge to the other side--the European one--and climb the Galata Tower (we didn't know that we would pay money to take an elevator up to the top). We became fascinated by the restaurants and bars under the bridge!
SHIELDED FROM THE SUN.  The summer sun in Istanbul is daunting. These restaurants are protected with the blue plastic covering until the sun sets. (photo by Chiboogamoo)
THE OTHER SIDE OF THE BRIDGE.  Climbing up the stairs from the other side of the bridge to the same level with the fishermen, we crossed the road and went down another set of stairs to find another row of restaurants and bars. Notice the difference the lack of sun makes. Shade is a much sought after commodity here in Turkey in the summer! (photo by Chiboogamoo)
There were many other tourists doing the same thing we were doing in viewing the sea, the boats, the restaurants and in marveling over the bridge that connects two different parts of Istanbul. Three young men from Egypt asked me if I were Turkish (really?) and my Chiboogamoo and I had a great conversation with them. They were preparing to attend college in Turkey.
ENJOYING THE VIEW. I can always count on my honey to take numerous photos of me so that I can choose my favorite one for my blog. I am taking a good look at the Galata Bridge here. I was also advocating to stop for a cold beverage, but my darling moved me along so could climb the highest hill in Istanbul to access the tower you see immediately below. (photo by Chiboogamoo)
GALATA TOWER. (photo by Chiboogamoo)
The Galata Tower is old, according to the perspective of a person from the United States. It was originally built in 1348 to be the highest point in this area. Like many ancient structures, it has been rebuilt several times (referencing the Lonely Planet). After hiking up the hill from the Galata Bridge and being slightly tired (had we only arrived in Turkey the night before?), I was going to be satisfied sitting in the shade below while Chiboogamoo hiked up the tower. 

However, after investigating matters, he returned to me with a delighted grin on his face. There was an elevator, and we both were going up! So was everyone else in Istanbul. The sun was getting ready to set, and everyone had the same ambition to take really great photos of the Sultanahment in the beguiling shades of pinks and blues at sunset. The terrible tourist traffic jam around the best position to take these photos made this ambition slightly challenging. 

Packed like sardines, we enjoyed our view not moving until a German tourist started alerting everyone to move in one uniform direction. Thank goodness for the qualities that different cultures bring to a situation!
VIEW OF my CHIBOOGAMOO FROM GALATA TOWER. (photo by Hallelujah Truth)
DESCENDING FROM GALATA TOWER. Look at the balcony of the Galata Tower and see the tourists on the balcony. I was happy knowing we were moving down the hill this time and taking the tram back to the Sultanahmet! Hurray for public transportation! (photo by Hallelujah Truth)
 That's Coffee with Hallelujah! SOUL BLOG with me and tell me about your ventures on foot in a new place! What did you learn? How did walking make a difference? I love the people I meet! And the unexpected turns!

IHAP HULUSI GOREY: A prolific Turkish artist who became a national treasure in the 20th Century through his commercial work

IHAP HULUSI GOREY (1898-1986) --image taken of exhibit photo by Hallelujah Truth at the Marmara University Republican Museum, June 2013.

Hallelujah for ARTISTS! Hallelujah for Ihap Hulusi Gorey, a Turkish treasure! When my Chiboogamoo and I were visiting Istanbul, Turkey, at the end of June 2013, we happened upon a retrospective of Ihap Hulusi Gorey's work. Displayed on two levels of the Marmara University Republican Museum located in the Sultanahmet, the "old" part of this large cosmopolitan city, it was a fantastic find for me, the LOVER OF CREATIVE SOULS!
LIFE'S WORK ON DISPLAY. Here my Chiboogamoo (aka Tony Martin) looks at the lower level of Ihap Hulusi Gorey's work completed later in life. See the dazzling light illuminating the museum? Who needs artificial lighting? (photo by Hallelujah Truth)

Born in Cairo, Egypt, to a "prominent" father architect, Ihap Hulusi Gorey had the good fortune to grow up in a creative family. According to the information provided at the exhibit, one brother, Yavuz, was a sculptor and the other, Nihat, became "Egypt's most famous museum curator."

 In addition to being in a home that cultivated the arts, Ihap Hulusi's family provided him with a wonderful education in British schools there in Cairo and was supported to continue his art education in Germany.

The part of Ihap Hulusi's story that catches my attention is that he always knew he wanted to make art. Even as a child living in Cairo, he took art correspondence lessons from Germany before finally going there as a young man to study.

When he left Germany after completing his formal education and working in an important studio in Munich, he moved to Turkey, where he turned down a desirable government position in order to continue making art.

After being employed by other workshops, he established his own and developed a career in the commercial arts making posters and eventually became the "pioneer of Turkish poster art." 

Ihap Hulusi was treasured by the Turkish people so much that Ataturk asked him to design the cover page for the Turkish alphabet. In addition to making posters for the Turkish National Lottery for 45 years, he also worked for the Turkish Tobacco and Alcohol Company for 35 years and became well known internationally.

In his later years, he created modernized calligraphy and water colored. He died in Istanbul in 1986.

To conclude this celebration of Ihap Hulusi, I, Hallelujah Truth, a visionary artist from Atlanta, Georgia, United States, want to say that his images fascinate me. They result from his desire to make a living from his artistic vision and talent. The exhibit information speak of his dedication to his ART:

"Adamant that he would make a living from his art, Ihap Hulusi arrived in Munich, Germany, in 1920 and thereon every day for two whole years he painted models at the Heimann Schule."

Ihap Hulusi is quoted saying:

"I wanted to make a living from art that's why I thought it would be better to get involved in commercial painting, namely newspaper and poster drawings knowing that these would likely be able to generate  some income..."

That's Coffee with Hallelujah! SOUL BLOG with me and tell me what you think of Ihap Hulusi Gorey's work! For me, I delight dwelling in the work of other ARTISTS, seeing their interpretation of the world. Especially, I am fascinated by the way an ARTIST bridges the world of CREATIVITY to that of every day necessity, paying for food and lodging. Ihap Hulusi had clarity about his path for living a life of CREATIVITY!

AN EXAMPLE OF MODERNIZED CALLIGRAPHY.  As you can see because of the glass, it was difficult to take photos of Ihap Hulusi's work. However, I am posting this image here so you can see a close up of this intriguing work. I would love for one of my blog reader's to tell me what it says. I am pictured in the reflection.
HALLELUJAH FOR IHAP HULUSI GOREY! In Ihap Hulusi's later years he worked on modernized calligraphy. Here I am standing in front of examples of his calligraphy work. (photo by Chiboogamoo)