Ilknur Demirkoparan


As an immigrant belonging neither here nor there, I use these motifs to mark the twists and turns of my own journey towards belonging.


In my work, I strive to articulate something for which I have no name yet; a perspective deeply influenced by my position as a Turkish-American migrant belonging neither here nor there. There’s an uncertainty that animates my work precisely because those notions of identity, difference, and the false dichotomy of “east vs west” were never certain to begin with. Whereas my earlier work explores this space of otherness by evoking the bizarre and often baffling narratives of identity, my practice has since evolved to seek a connection with my heritage, which feels evermore distant and estranged.

My paintings draw inspiration from the abstract language of Turkish kilims (rugs). Historically, each motif on a kilim represents a singular idea and when woven in combination with other motifs and colors, they evoke nonverbal narratives of lives lived. For example, the burr motif, depending on its positioning, represents either a nomadic lifestyle, or survivorship after displacement. The hairband motif can mean a celebration of a joyous occasion, or more strikingly, a desire for immortality, perhaps in grief of a devastating loss. This symbolic language has endured centuries of wars, migrations, and even the rise and fall of empires to communicate the joys and the sorrows of humans in a way that transcends the boundaries of time and space. I use these motifs to mark the twists and turns of my own journey towards belonging. In many ways, my approach is similar, – in terms of practice and thinking, – to the Dansaekwha school that emerged in postwar Korea.


2006                MFA, California Institute of the Arts. Valencia, CA

2004                BA, University of California, Riverside. Riverside, CA




2021                Grant. Regional Arts and Culture Council. Portland, OR

2020                Residency. GlogauAIR Artists Residency. Berlin, Germany

2019                Residency. ChaNorth Artists Residency. Pine Plains, NY

2019                Residency. Visiting Artist. The Evergreen State College. Olympia, Washington. USA

2018                Featured Artist. Guest Curator Program: Curator, Becca Hoffman.

2010                Residency. K2 Contemporary Art Center. Izmir, Turkey

2003-2004      Fellowship. Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. University of California, Riverside, CA

2003-2004      Fellowship. Gluck Fellows Program of the Arts. University of California, Riverside, CA




2022    Abstract Monochrome Figures. Mark Borghi Fine Art. Sag Harbor, NY, USA


2022    [three-person] 3 Women Walk into A Gallery.Mark Borghi Fine Art. Sag Harbor, NY, USA


2022    Artists and Poems: Istanbul 2021 | (curated by Gul Cagin)


2022    [two-person solo] Hoscakal, Portland. MinEastry of Postcollapse Art and Culture. Portland, OR, USA


2022    Insta-select V.2. Mark Borghi Fine Art. Sag Harbor, NY, USA


2021    (Un)Natural Boundaries and Borders. Silverwood Park Gallery, St Anthony, MN

            (curated by Katayoun Amcadi)


2021    [three-person] Enduring Time | Material Emergence.

             MinEastry of Postcollapse Art and Culture. Portland, OR. USA.

2020    Open Studios Exhibition. GlogauAIR. Berlin, Germany.


2020    Showcase. GlogauAIR. Berlin, Germany.


2019    PARTITA II, Durden and Ray Fundraiser. Durden and Ray, Los Angeles, California. USA.


2019    Postcollapse Manifesto distribution (September 2019). Yoğurtçu Parkı. Istanbul, Turkey.


2019    Open Studios Exhibition. ChaNorth Artist Residency. Pine Plains, New York, USA.


2019    [three-person] The Other Is Not. Evergreen State College. Olympia, Washington, USA.


2017    klingt kut! International Symposium on Sound. Hamburg, Germany


2017    FAR Bazaar 2017. Cerritos College, Cerritos California, USA.


2016    [three-person] Sympathetic Resonance: An Evening of Improvised Alchemy.

Highways Performance Space and Gallery. Los Angeles, California, USA.


2016    Sympathetic Resonance and Are We There Yet? Sonorities Festival of Music, Belfast, Ireland. UK


2016    [two-person] Are We There Yet? Demo launch. University of Gothenburg, Sweden.


2013    [three-person] Chapul San Diego! Mesa College. San Diego, California, USA.


2013    Chapul’LA: An Evening of Art, Music, Food, and Chapulling.

Highways Performance Space and Gallery.  Los Angeles, California, USA.


2012    7th Berlin Biennale. ArtWiki Project (curated by Artur Żmijewski & Pit Schultz)