About Elif Uras
The paintings and ceramic sculptures of Elif Uras explore what she describes as “shifting notions of gender and class within the context of the struggle between modernity and tradition.” Uras’s sculptures are made onsite in Iznik (originally Nicaea), an ancient town in the Northwestern Anatolia region of Turkey, celebrated for its tile and ceramic production during the Ottoman Empire. Uras’s imagery merges traditional nonfigurative Turkish art with the Western figurative tradition, while also exploring the representation of the female body across cultures.
Cooperation with Iznik
Working alongside artisans trained in the Ottoman style at the Iznik Foundation in Turkey, Uras takes inspiration from ancient Greek vases depicting figures farming olives and making pottery—two industries that connect the ancient past with the global present. During Ottoman times, these tasks were exclusively performed by men; now female workers, artisans, and entrepreneurs populate and manage these industries. In response, Uras’s sensuous vessels, which sometimes allude to the pregnant belly, show these authoritative women in Iznik today, placing the female figure center stage.
Elif Uras: ‘Having gone to school and worked and lived in New York, I wanted to reconnect with my homeland. The Iznik Foundation has a history of working with Turkish and international artists and designers. I’m very grateful that I have been able to go back every year.’
In June 2016, Ura´s Iznik vase ´Pregnant Haliç II´ was added to the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art New York.