Matmazel Maşallah 
cloth inherited from mother-in-law’s closet, 
cloth bought from Covered Bazaar
82 width x 85 height
translation from Ottoman to Turkish by Prof. Dr. Nüket Esen

Why was a square cloth with embroidered flowers and matmazel maşallah (beautiful non-Muslim unmarried girl) written in Ottoman script owned by the artist’s mother-in-law? Learning the truth is no longer possible, but a fictional answer can be proposed. Perhaps it had belonged to her husband’s stepmother who married into the family in the 1920s as a young Christian girl? In the Ottoman period words used to address people’s designated religion and position in society.  In this work, Atakan transforms an antiquated saying used to ward off the taunts of playground bullies to remind us that words are powerful and can inflict pain. 
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