This year, while choosing the slogan of the festival, we were torn between two choices and finally we decided on “Watch puppets for improvement”. But I was wrapped up a little bit in the other option, so I picked it as the title of my introduction. We have been living for this, so that every place shall be filled up with puppets.
For example, we carried out many projects in the last decade so that there shall be many puppets in all schools. Among those, our most significant project is the puppet show contest, tenth of which shall take place this year. I always make this statement: education should not be without puppets. Puppets are a major component of education system in all developed countries. Those who wonder how puppets contribute to education, may ask the teachers of the schools which attend this contest. Today many schools in İzmir benefit from advantages of puppets to increase the quality of education. I hope all other schools shall do the same!
Art is another field of life that should be supported by puppets. We always complain that art in Turkey is not progressing, we do not produce enough quality art that represents us in the world. But many of the countries which are recognized with its art, dynamize many different branches of art with projects that integrate puppets within. And by doing this, they contribute progress of puppet art, at the very same time. There are many interdisciplinary, modern art productions in the world that feature puppets and attract great attention. I believe that it is time for our artists to get rid of conformism and get close to puppets in their art. There is a group of artists in İzmir whom try to do this with their limited means. Even just taking a look at their work may be a stimulating experience. However if the purpose is to create something lasting and global, then, as I have stated many times before: We need a puppet school right away. Related authorities should get rid of procrastination and start a puppet school that shall enable us to take the modern puppet art in our country to the global level.
The contribution of puppets to tourism can be observed in many cities in the world. And I am not talking about only professional artists and ones who has a professional interest in puppets, roaming around the world to see puppets. Puppetry draws attention of people at all ages. It endears itself to everyone. Most of the time, a free space is sufficient to stage it and so the play can meet with the audience very easily. Puppet performances fill up even the largest halls and it can be staged on streets and reach large audience. Adding the artistic and cultural emblazonment of puppetry art to the cities it is performed at, we would understand why it is important for tourism as well.
The benefits of puppetry can be easily increased as long as we reach to it and hear what it has to offer. But it all starts with getting to know it and that’s exactly why we organize the biggest puppetry festival of the world, in İzmir, every year and there is no better chance other than this, to learn about the puppetry of the world.
Selcuk Dincer (Festival Director)