School of the Art Institute of Chicago, USA 2015

Master of Fine Arts in Photography

Oberlin College, USA 2013

Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art with Honors, Minors in Politics & Middle Eastern Studies


Honors & Awards

Palm Springs Photo Festival Emerging Photographer Scholarship from Leica Camera 2016

New Artists Society Scholarship awarded by the School of the Art Institute of Chicago 2013

Youngest artist to exhibit & to be included in the permanent collection of 2013

the Istanbul Modern Museum

Leah Freed Memorial Prize for “In The Closet” thesis & photography series 2012

awarded by the Oberlin College Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies Institute

Included in the “Impossible Collection” of The Impossible Project, the company 2011

responsible for restarting the production of instant film.


Solo Exhibitions

Projections photography exhibition, June-May 2016

Carl Hammer Gallery, Chicago, USA

REVENGE pop-up photography exhibition, January 2016

Backyard, Istanbul, TURKEY

They Used To Call Me A Fag photography exhibition & performance April 2013

Oberlin College, Oberlin, USA

Bridging the Gaps mixed media exhibition, June 2009

ENKA Dr. Clinton Vickers Gallery, Istanbul, TURKEY


Group Exhibitions

Between You and Them mixed media exhibition, Spring 2016

Australia China Art Foundation, Shanghai, CHINA

Extract V mixed media exhibition Winter 2015-16

Kunstforeningen GL Strand Museum, Copenhagen, DENMARK

Winter Show mixed media exhibition December 2015

Carl Hammer Gallery, Chicago, USA

Fashion Film Istanbul short film festival, November 2015

Zorlu Performing Arts Center, Istanbul, TURKEY

Inaugural Exhibition mixed media exhibition, November 2015

Australia China Art Foundation, Shanghai, CHINA

10th Contemporary Istanbul international art fair November 2015

Sanatorium Gallery Booth, Istanbul, TURKEY

4th EXPO CHICAGO international art fair September 2015

Carl Hammer Gallery Booth, Chicago, USA

Sarp Kerem Yavuz 3 of 4

2nd Sydney Contemporary international art fair September 2015

Yavuz Gallery Booth, Sydney, AUSTRALIA

Summer Show mixed media exhibition July-August 2015

Carl Hammer Gallery, Chicago, USA

MFA Thesis Exhibition May 2015

Sullivan Galleries at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, USA

Media Futures video and interactive art exhibition Winter 2014-15

Sullivan Galleries at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, USA

9th Contemporary Istanbul international art fair November 2014

Sanatorium Gallery Booth, Istanbul, TURKEY

A Sampling: (Put Away Your) Short Shorts film screening October 2014

The Comfort Station, Chicago, USA

From the Ottoman Empire to Istanbul Modern photography exhibition Summer 2014

Part of Focus:Turkey, Landskrona Foto Festival ’14 in Landskrona, SWEDEN

Beyond Nuclear: aberrations in family mixed media exhibition May 2014

Gallery 69, New York, USA

Never Satisfied mixed media exhibition March 2014

Defibrilator Gallery, Chicago, USA

Boundaries photography exhibition, October 2013

In conjunction with the Midwest Society for Photographic Education Conference,

Eisentrager-Howard Art Gallery, Lincoln, USA

Young Fresh Different mixed media exhibition June-July 2013

CDA Projects Gallery, Istanbul, TURKEY

Close Quarters photography and video exhibition May-Nov. 2013

Istanbul Modern Museum, Istanbul, TURKEY

Taksim Square: Then & Now drawing exhibition, June 2008

Sakip Sabanci Museum, Istanbul, TURKEY


Artist Statement 

After spending my college years in Ohio, surrounded by Americana settings and varsity sports players, my works demonstrate my fascination with American masculinity. Most recently, this fascination has manifested in the form of soccer photography. Having shot macho varsity sports players who self identify as heterosexual in homoerotic settings such as locker rooms, I have returned to my alma mater, Oberlin College, to shoot a younger generation of soccer players in their original context.The series was inspired by my older photographs as a journalist documenting the college soccer games, which had, in turn, inspired the more erotic work, so in a way I find myself coming full circle. The male form also exists in a different series I am currently working on, titled Maşallah. As I grow increasingly concerned about the advent of conservative Islam in Turkey, my homeland, I have turned to traditional Islamic and Turkish patterns, which, when projected, highlight male forms in darkness. I seek to challenge the Islamic ban on depicting the human. Decorative arts flourished as a result of the ancient ban, and it excites me to use the product of the ban to make visible the human form. Maşallah also touches on the identity crisis of my generation:We may very well be the last generation to have received an education that praised secular thinking and rejected everything Ottoman. But the patterns that we regarded as representations of darker times are now being rebranded as representations of a brighter future.The ground is shifting beneath our feet, and as Ottoman culture is resurrected, elements of Western cultural content, from Twitter to The Godfather, are being censored. Using YouTube screenshots and iPhone photographs taken during the Gezi Protests of 2013, along with examples of censorship in Turkish media, I am keeping a visual record of the reimagining of Turkey
as the second coming of the Ottoman Empire. I am also trying to identify what my role is in the process of trying to hold on to a republic that no longer seems to exist. My work is about masculinity, and about the de-secularization of Turkey.


Since the year 2014, Sarp Kerem Yavuz has taken on the challenge of using art to address the problematic and Ottoman-inspired totalitarian regime in Turkey. Staging photographic projections of patterns scanned from various publications put out by the Turkish Ministry of Tourism and Culture, combined with designs from the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia, his work illuminates figures in darkness. While the depiction of the human is taboo in Islamic culture, ornamental geometry and fractal art have developed as a result. Sarp's objective is to break this rule, using the product of the rule itself. By projecting patterns scanned from various publications associated with Ottoman culture, he allows the light projector to behead, castrate, dehumanize, censor, objectify and isolate the body, mimicking the politicized religion's impact on society. Although these patterns can be quite attractive, Ottoman governance practices, embraced by the current ruling party, have proven to be quite oppressive. This work uses the same iconography the Turkish government used to reinvent itself as the second-coming of the Ottoman Empire to talk about the erasure of individual identity in Turkey. 


One of the greatest experiments in creating a secular democracy for a Muslim nation has failed. Since the Gezi Park Proftests of 2013, my practice has been centered on the
contemporar y condition of Generation Y in Turkey, my generation, and our struggle to redefine and asser t ourselves in a growingly conser vative political landscape. I watched birds fall from the sky as clouds of teargas enveloped my city that summer, and my father’s fingers and ribs were broken by the police. I am interested in using staged photography to challenge the root of the issue, the residual Ottoman mentality that embraces a totalitarian regime. Contemporary political discourse in Turkey celebrates a reinterpreted, shining Ottoman rule that had no faults, no decay, no corruption. Day by day, this narrative is (super)imposed on us. In this body of work, I use projections of patterns scanned from various publications put out by the Turkish Ministr y of Tourism and Culture, and designs from Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia, to illuminate figures in darkness. Depicting the human is taboo in Islamic culture, and ornamental geometry and fractal art have developed as a result of this ban. I am interested in breaking this rule, using the product of the rule itself. While these pattern associated with Ottoman culture can be quite attractive, Ottoman governance practices embraced by the current ruling party have proven to be quite oppressive. Through the series Maşallah, I have been attempting to navigate the conflicts and alienation that arise as a result of the dual nature of my heritage.