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Founding and Mission 


The İstanbul Artist Residency (İAR) was established by the artist, art restorator, and art manager/consultant Polina Somochkina together with the businessman and art collector Halil Ibrahim Cavuşoğlu. The İAR’s first project was successfully completed in May 2019 with the support of the Consulate General of Ukraine in İstanbul, headed by the Honorary Consul General Oleksandr Gaman. The İAR’s annual artist residency project and its’ final exhibitions that been realized since 2019 at the Akaretler Art Gallery in cooperation with Bilgili Holding.

The IAR aims to explore the terrain and local context through international participants, who are selected from the pool of applicants, and then brought together in Istanbul, allowing artists to live here with time to reflect, research, and produce artwork. For three years, the İAR had received about 1000 applications for participation from all over the world, and every year the number of applicants for the İAR is growing. An analysis of applications received from around the world also contributes to the understanding of cultural nuances and sensitive values of diversity, equality, and inclusion. For three years in a row, the İAR accepted 25 international artists from 8 different countries. The İAR works with the leading art scene figures, inviting them as Guest Curators, to create a conceptual theme for the participant artists to work on. Thus, for the İAR 2022 project, we have worked with Beral Madra (art critic, writer, and curator of contemporary art in Türkiye) and Sabiha Kurtulmuş (art consultant and founder of the Merkur Gallery in İstanbul). For the İAR 2021 project, we have worked with Olena Grubb (curator, writer, and founder of Magenta Art Books in Ukraine). As a result of the project every year, the works of participating artists will be preserved in the İAR Art Collection, which will become the basis for the formation of the İAR Museum in the future.


Attracting more and more international participants every year, representing the art scene of Istanbul abroad, in cooperation with more countries will contribute to developing cultural diplomacy. For the third year in a row, we have been actively cooperating with the Ukrainian Embassy in Turkey and the Consulate General of Ukraine in Istanbul, since 2021 we are also cooperating with the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Istanbul. Cooperating with the diplomatic corps of different countries in Istanbul, the İAR aims to contribute to the development of cultural diplomacy through peaceful dialogue.  


Polina Somochkina

Co-founder Art Director 

Art Director and project manager of the IAR, Art Advisor 


Halıl Ibrahım Çavuşoglu

Co-founder of the IAR

Art Collector. CO of the HC Ship Repair Company 

Partner Countries 2021

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