Ozge Ersoy develops public art programs
Turkish native is now based in Hong Kong
Ozge Ersoy ’07 is an example of a Binghamton University education that can cut across national and cultural boundaries. The native of Turkey came to Binghamton to study in the dual-diploma program with Boğaziçi University. The experience helped her launch a career as an international art curator.
“My dream initially was to become a diplomat or work at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” Ersoy says. “I came to realize there were different forms of research and discussion. I was intrigued by the difference between scholarly and artistic research, and I wanted to learn more about how artists did research, presented ideas and how exhibitions were places where art met the public.”
Ersoy is based in Hong Kong, where she’s led public programs at Asia Art Archive (AAA), a library, archive and research institution documenting the history of contemporary Asian art. Ersoy says AAA has one of the world’s most valuable collections of physical and digital materials about newer artworks in Asia. AAA is not a traditional archive in that it’s more digital than physical in nature, plus it provides interpretations on its collections.
“We make exhibitions, develop talks and workshops, and organize symposia in collaboration with artists, curators, researchers and like-minded organizations,” says Ersoy, who joined AAA in 2017. “We look for connections. I work closely with our researchers as well as artists, arts professionals, scholars and other organizations to develop programs — it’s always a collaborative endeavor.
“This work is important because we need research, scholarship and critical thinking about less visible histories in Asia and beyond,” she says. “The recent hype about contemporary art from Asia is mostly shaped by the market and the national agendas. For us, it’s crucial to have an independent institution that makes primary materials about lesser-known histories accessible and that offers a different perspective. We can help rewrite existing histories that rely on traditional Western narratives.”
Before moving to Hong Kong and joining AAA, Ersoy worked at various nonprofit organizations and foundations in New York, Istanbul and Cairo. She was curator and program manager of collectorspace, a Turkish nonprofit initiative that opened private contemporary art collections to the public and stimulated discussions through exhibitions, public programs and publications.
“Binghamton was instrumental in all of this,” Ersoy says. “I started writing about art exhibitions for the [Binghamton] Free Press, which I’m very thankful for. I was accepted to my first internships in New York thanks to these writings and I’m grateful for the editorial guidance and motivation to experiment with a writing style that was new for me. My professors motivated me to develop critical thinking and to study how arts and culture give us tools to imagine new readings of the past and to speculate for the future.”