top of page

Current Position

— Independent Artist/Curator/Scholar

— Co-Founder, (Director of Arts and Culture Programs (2007 – present),

 Sidestreets Educational and Cultural Initiatives, Nicosia, Cyprus


M.A. in English Studies (2002) [Thesis: “Seeing Things: The Art of Peter Greenaway’s The Pillow Book”], Department of English Literature and Humanities, Eastern Mediterranean University, Cyprus.

 B.F.A. in Visual Arts (1987) [painting and graphic design], Mason Gross School of the Arts,  Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey. U.S.A.


Selected Exhibitions and Projects

2004–presently in progress: “The Sidestreets Project” (based in Nicosia, Cyprus)

2014: “Generation” (joint exhibition with Emin Çizenel). Art Rooms Gallery, Kyrenia Cyprus. May 16-22 June 2014.

2014: “Frequency” Video Installation in Etkenlik Group Exhibition. Efruz Apartment, Ortaköy, Nicosia Cyprus. February 11 and 13, 2014.

2013: “Digital Call for Prayer” Sound Installation in “Happening” Group Performance/Ehibition;. Sidestreets Educational and Cultural Initiatives, Nicosia, Cyprus. December 27, 2013 one night event

2013-14: “Sidestreets Off-Site – Interim Phase”

2012-13: “POINT–SIGHT–AIM: LEFKOŞA.” Solo Exhibition; Photographic Installation. Sidestreets Educational and Cultural Initiatives, Nicosia, Cyprus. December 5, 2012 – January 10, 2013

2010: “Frequency” in “Rendezvous” Avesta Art 2010, Verket, Avesta, Sweden, May 26 – September 8.

2009: “EYEPORT.” (joint project with Emin Çizenel). Photographic Installation, by invitation of the UN in Cyprus. “Meeting Hall 1 – Nicosia International Airport.” UN Buffer Zone, Cyprus, September – October

2008: “Argilla Animata IV: Positions Taken” (joint project with Emin Çizenel). Multimedia installation and Limited Edition Artists’ Book in “Looking Forward to Hearing From You.” Action Field Kodra 08, Thessaloniki, Greece, September 3-15.

2008: “Argilla Animata III: Argilla Animata Cypria” (joint project with Emin Çizenel). Multimedia installation in “‘You Give–I Give’/Cyprus Week.” European Cultural Season, Galerie Nikki Diana Marquardt, Paris, France, July.

2008: “Latife” Multimedia Installation. Art Athina 2008: International Contemporary Art Fair; Gounaropoulos Museum, Athens, Greece, May 23-25.

 (Exhibited since 1983: USA, Germany, France, Sweden, Greece, Turkey, Cyprus)


Selected Curated Exhibitions

2013 Sept. 17 – Oct. 31: Exhibition: KUYUD/Inscription

                                    – curated by Anber Onar (Kare Gallery, Istanbul)

                                    Culmination of Emin Çizenel's work from the previous exhibition..


2013, March 13 – July 13: Exhibition: Working Title “Calendar”: Visual Presentation in Four Stages 

                                    – curated by Anber Onar (Sidestreets, Nicosia)

A preview series of four exhibitions by artist Emin Çizenel, to culminate in a large exhibition curated by Anber Onar and opening at the Kare Gallery in Istanbul on September 15, 2013 as a parallel exhibition to the Istanbul Biennale.


2012-13, Dec. 21 – Jan. 31: Live Installation: “Detective Work in Progress: The Mystery

                                    of the Missing Mosaics”

                                    – curated by Anber Onar and Emin Çizenel (Sidestreets, Nicosia)

Installation of a living 1958 office environment in Sidestreets’ gallery space, including the researcher himself and all the archival research materials and artifacts recovered as part of the research done by Johann Pillai on the Turkish pavilion of the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair.


2012, November 15-16: Exhibition: Art in Transit 

                                    – curated by Anber Onar and Emin Çizenel (Sidestreets, Nicosia)

“Art in Transit” comprised two of the latest paintings by Emin Çizenel: “Airmail Butterflies” (170cm x 180cm; candle soot and origami on canvas), and “Provocation” (200cm x 300cm; candlesoot and tempera on canvas). These paintings were first exhibited at Sidestreets before being transported to Istanbul where they were exhibited at the Istanbul Contemporary Art Fair, represented by Kare Gallery. 


2011, April 13-22: Photography Exhibition: Dumanex

                                    – curated by Anber Onar and Emin Çizenel (Sidestreets, Nicosia)

An exhibition by two young Turkish Cypriot photographers, Kerim Belet and Tağmaç Çankaya. This was an exhibition of images  of smoke that contain within them a mixture of metaphors evoking different meanings and images from life, such as escaping, disseminating, communicating, getting lost, flying, dirtying, and smelling. 


2010, Oct. 6 – Nov. 30: Exhibition: Bedri Rahmi, The Lost Mosaic Wall: From Expo ’58 to Cyprus 

                                    – curated by Anber Onar and Emin Çizenel; research by Johann Pillai

                                    – in collaboration with the Embassy of Turkey in Cyprus

                                    Photographic history and mosaics from the Turkish pavilion of the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair.


2010, June 15 – July 17 Exhibition: Insects

                                    – curated by Anber Onar and Emin Çizenel (Sidestreets, Nicosia)

An exhibition of sculptures in large, organic, insect-like forms by sculptor Baki Boğaç. The works were mostly constructed out of metal and stone; phosphorescent paint was applied on some surfaces, allowing the organicity of the forms to appear animated under black lighting. The arrangement of the whole took the shape of an installation, complete with sound and drama.


2008–9, Dec. 15 – Jan. 24: Exhibition: “Small Touches”

                                    – curated by Anber Onar and Emin Çizenel (Sidestreets, Nicosia)

A group exhibition featuring artists of Greek and Turkish Cypriot descent from Cyprus, Turkey and Europe: Aslı Bolayır, Emin Çizenel, Sümer Erek, Ümit İnatcı, Aşık Mene, Panayiotis Michael, Lefteris Olympios, Anber Onar, Güner Pir, and Cemal Gürsel Soyel.


2008, Oct. 6-18: Archeology and Cultural Heritage Exhibition: Photographs from the King’s Hill Excavations

                                    – curated by Anber Onar and Emin Çizenel (Sidestreets, Nicosia)

                                    – with Dr. Skip Norman, Dr. Uwe Müller, and associated archeologists and art historians


Selected Recent Publications

2014: Onar, Anber. “Promise and Delivery.” In Critical Perspectives on Lefteris Olympios. Forthcoming, 2014.

2013: Onar, Anber; and Pillai, Johann. “Paths Through Inscription.” Emin Çizenel: Kuyûd. Limited Edition Catalog of the Istanbul Biennial Parallel Exhibition at Kare Art Gallery, Istanbul, Turkey. 17 Sept. – 31 Oct., 2013.

2012: Onar, Anber and Pillai, Johann. “Provocation.” 3-5, 46-47. In Emin Çizenel: Provocation. Limited Edition Catalog of the Exhibition at Kare Art Gallery, Istanbul, Turkey. 17 Feb.- 17 March, 2012. Promat, 2012

2006: Onar, Anber. “Symptoms of the Arbitrary.” 40-45. In Catalog for Leaps of Faith: An International Arts Project for the Green Line and the City of Nicosia, Cyprus. Ed. Rana Zincir, Katerina Gregos and Erden Kosova. Istanbul: Kolektif Productions, 2006.


Selected Conference Presentations

2014: Invited speaker for “Sarı Kehribar ve Mehmet Yaşın”: Analysis of the novel and images. Nicosia, Cyprus June 12, 2014

2014: Invited speaker “Untitled History: A Sidestreets Project 2007-2008 – Digitalizing and Archiving Turkish Cypriot art and its implications in the modern artistic  and political world of Cyprus. NIMAC –  Nicosia Municipal Arts Organization, Power House, Nicosia, Cyprus.

2007: “Border Stamps: Towards a Semiotics of Postal Representation.” 9th World Congress of IASS/AIS. International Association for Semiotic Studies. Imatra, Finland. June 11-17.

2006: “The Non-Academic Art School: Structures and Goals.” Manifesta Coffee Break. Launching of the first Manifesta 6 event prior to the 6th Biannual Exhibition scheduled in Nicosia, Cyprus, from September 23 to 17 December 2006, and later canceled.


Academic/Professional Experience

 2007-2014: Co-Founder, Director for Artistic and Cultural Development, Sidestreets, Nicosia, Cyprus.


    1) Arts and Culture Programs: Curating exhibitions; organizing, research; writing; designing; leading discussions in film, art, literature, criticism; leading workshops in art,          social responsibility.


   2) Educational Activities: art/culture workshops and courses for all age groups.


1992-2006: Senior Lecturer, Department of Archaeology and Art History, Faculty of Arts and Sciences (full-time) Eastern Mediterranean University, Famagusta, North Cyprus


1991–1992: Lecturer, Faculty of Art and Architecture (full-time) Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey.


Selected Courses Taught

Modernism and Postmodernism, Concepts in Art Analysis, Arts Practice, Survey of Art History, Basic Drawing/Freehand Drawing, Visual Communication, Graphic Design, Advanced Painting, Art Appreciation, Clay Sculpture. 


bottom of page