Dokuz Eylül University Faculty of Fine Arts was established in 1975 as part of Ege University, becoming the first Faculty of Fine Arts in our country with the pride and responsibility it carried.
During the founding years of the Faculty, there were established institutions in our country that provided formal art education in accordance with the University Law No. 1750 in effect. The Fine Arts Academy and the Applied Fine Arts School were located in Istanbul, and the State Conservatories continued their work in Ankara, Izmir, and Istanbul. The education of music and visual arts teachers, which was needed in secondary education, was carried out in teacher training institutes according to the model developed at Gazi Education Institute established in the early years of the Republic in Ankara. There was a Theater Department at the Faculty of Language, History, and Geography in Ankara that provided theoretical-based education, and the Press and Broadcasting Higher School Cinema-Television Department, which operated under the Faculty of Political Sciences.
The aim was to shape the art education being carried out in these scattered fields under a different organizational model that would bring them together under one roof. This roof would not be an academy, conservatory, teacher training institute, or vocational school; it would be a four-year faculty. This faculty would not be limited to theoretical knowledge production and teaching like traditional faculties; it would also focus on vocational education through research and applied courses. It would be an original faculty that selects its students through special talent exams and trains them as qualified, contemporary artists who earn their living through artistic productions in their fields of study. The opening of Master’s and Ph.D. programs beyond the undergraduate level was also targeted. Instead of students being trained as a new model of a single master in the tradition of academies or conservatories, it was considered a more accurate approach to provide them with the opportunity to develop their objective perspective, original worldview, and artist identity by working with different faculty members in different classes within the departmental system. The education of the Faculty of Fine Arts would be an education in which artistic skills could be developed and theoretical accumulation could be created.
With these thoughts, the Faculty was established with a heterogeneous structure that brought together various art disciplines and teaching methods that were conducted separately in other countries. Initially, the Faculty opened with the Environmental Design Department, which included Architecture, Urban Planning, Historic Environment Preservation, and Landscape Architecture; the Visual Arts Department, which included Painting, Sculpture, and Graphics; and the Performing and Sound Arts Department, which included Music, Ballet, Theater, Cinema, and Television. In the 1975-76 academic year, the Faculty mainly focused on architecture education. In the 1976-77 period, new teaching staff joined the Faculty, and Theater, Cinema-TV, Musicology, and Textile Design areas were included by admitting students, expanding the structure. In 1981, during the restructuring phase of the Turkish Higher Education System, the Faculty separated from Ege University and became part of Dokuz Eylül University. With the Environmental Design Department separating from the Faculty and the newly opened departments, the Faculty became an original educational institution where Painting, Sculpture, Graphics, Ceramic-Glass, Textile Design (Printing, Weaving, Fashion Accessories, Fashion Design), Traditional Turkish Crafts (Carpet-Kilim Old Fabric Patterns, Tiles and Tile Repairs, Illumination, Calligraphy), Performing Arts (Acting, Dramatic Writing, Stage Design), Cinema-TV, Photography, and Music Sciences were conducted under the same roof. This model also became a prototype for many Faculties of Fine Arts opened in our country after 1981.
The first challenge encountered in the establishment and development of such an approach as an educational institution was the decision to establish the faculty in Izmir. Our country, where the art and cultural environment was not sufficiently developed as in Istanbul and Ankara, did not have a sufficient number of faculty members to realize such comprehensive goals and programs. The artists who would transfer their knowledge and experiences to university students in line with the developed programs mostly resided in Istanbul and Ankara. The geographical distance of Izmir from both cities seriously hindered the possibility of providing guest faculty members from these resources. The education envisaged in the Faculty of Fine Arts required living in Izmir. Many valuable artists who were invited hesitated to settle in Izmir, where the art and cultural environment was not yet at the desired level, and to make efforts to establish a new order and contribute to the establishment and consolidation of a new educational institution. Thus, the Faculty of Fine Arts set out with a few academics and artists residing in Izmir, transferring their established orders to Izmir and being willing to make sacrifices in their careers. At this stage, Prof. Dr. Özdemir Nutku led the Theater department, Prof. Dr. Alim Şerif Onaran led the Cinema-TV department, Prof. Dr. Gültekin Oransay led the Musicology department, Adem Genç and Halil Akdeniz led the Painting department, Cengiz Çekil led the Sculpture department, Ayten Sürür led the Textile Design department, and Sevim Çizer led the Ceramics department. They were followed by Cuma Ocaklı, Aydın Akdeniz, Gören Bulut, Fevzi Saydam, Suat Taşer, Haşim Hekimoğlu, Ragıp Haykır, Murat Tuncay, Hülya Aklan, Faruk Ersöz, Zülal Aksoy, Mehmet Ergüven, Gökhan Akçura, Bilgin Adalı, Oğuz Adanır, Oğuz Makal, Oktay Kutluğ, Hüsnü Tekinoğlu, Ünsal Altunbaş, İbrahim Bergman, Ahmet Sipahioğlu, Erdoğan Okyay, Nurhan Cangal, Turgut Aldemir, Necati Gedikli, Edip Günay, Kumru Canku, Ali Sürür, and İsmail Öztürk.
The second challenge faced in the early years was due to the Faculty of Fine Arts being one of the seven faculties established and opened for education within Ege University at the same time. Due to the nature of art education, the art education required significant expenses for equipment, materials, and space arrangements. Apart from the technical equipment required for modernity in some fields, even basic traditional education materials were not adequately provided. Art education was an expensive education, and the financial resources that the university budget could provide for the infrastructure expenses required by this education were shared equally among the newly established faculties. The requirements of the departments in the Faculty of Fine Arts, which brought together art disciplines with distinct features, and the preservation of the level required by contemporary education could be achieved over time within the available means. The great efforts shown by the faculty members during the establishment phase form the strongest foundations of the Faculty of Fine Arts, which has a tradition of education spanning over a quarter of a century today.
The Faculty of Fine Arts had to use the building allocated to it for all administrative and academic units from 1975 to 1998, which was located right next to Alsancak Stadium. Over time, despite some minor additions to this building, it became inadequate. Therefore, some departments had to use the spaces allocated within the Ege University Bornova Campus. However, in order to obtain a more permanent solution for the space required for all departments to conduct their education together, a philanthropist who recognized the vital importance of the Faculty of Fine Arts and the State Conservatory for Izmir’s artistic and cultural life donated land in Narlıdere to the university for the construction of buildings for these two institutions. Construction of the building complex, which currently houses all administrative and academic units of the Faculty of Fine Arts, began in 1988, and education and instruction started in the completed blocks in 1993. Since 1998, the Faculty of Fine Arts has been conducting its activities in modern educational facilities located in Narlıdere.
Since 1981, our faculty has graduated over 2500 students. Alongside the artists who have created works that have received awards in national and international evaluations, our faculty takes pride in its academic staff and assistants who work at all levels. Through organizing scientific and artistic events, publications, and the national and international achievements of its faculty members and students, it continues to contribute to the education of young artists who will realize a better future with their creative works, which is its fundamental mission.
Prof. Dr. Murat TUNCAY