Semblance: Sculptural Metal Dresses


Semblance: Sculptural Metal Dresses by Belgin Yücelen Opens at the Customs House Museum, Clarksville, TN.

Sculptural Garments Portraying a Past Culture’s Sophistication in a Contemporary Form

Exhibition: Semblance: Sculptural Metal Dresses by Belgin Yücelen

Venue: Customs House Museum, 200 S 2nd St, Clarksville, TN 37040

Location: Jostons Gallery

Dates: November 5th, 2019 and January 12th, 2020

Public Reception: Thursday, November 7th, 5:00 to 7:00 pm

Clarksville (2019) – From November 1st 2019 through January 31stth 2020, Customs House Museum is proud to present Belgin Yücelen: Semblance exhibit in our Jostons gallery. An installation consisting of sculptural garments created by Yücelen, Semblance draws on a range of cultural and historical references. The installation references not only the customs of the Turkish people from 17th to 19th centuries, but also alludes to miniature paintings, epic poems and women’s place in the society. Yücelen’s intent is to examine the ways of living during that period through their celebrations and ceremonies, sufferings and mournings, beliefs on how to protect themselves from the evil through the language of clothing.

About the Exhibition

The solo exhibition “Semblance” consists of sculptural garments portraying a past culture’s sophistication in a contemporary form.  Costumes of a period depict the status of the people, and their traditions. On an individual level, clothing is a visual metaphor for identity. This communication through the language of clothing epitomizes our modesty, social status, and addresses the themes of place, memory and family and opens up possibilities for disguise.

The Turkish-American artist Belgin Yucelen created these garments based on clothing worn by Turkish women and children in Anatolia and Europe from 17th to 19th centuries to bring back and portray her own culture. While creating this series, she had referred to miniature paintings and literary sources.  The dresses are made of copper, brass and stainless steel together with materials she had gathered from around the world. The techniques she had used to decorate the dresses are traditional embroidery techniques from Turkey and India, fabric manipulation techniques from Japan, calligraphy and gilding.

About the Artist

Belgin Yücelen is a Turkish-American artist creating sculptures, installations, movies and prints intending to enhance our imaginations and consciousness. At the powerful intersection of art and activism, she speaks out on behalf of children in war, women with no rights, and refugees. She also talks about current social and global issues such as the replacement of the traditional ways of communication by technology mediated human-to-human interaction and climate change.

She is the founder of the “House of Serein” which is a creative space designed for community use and studios for artists and freelancers in Boulder.

She is a recipient of grants including the 2019 Colorado Creative Industries Career Advancement Grant, 2018 Moon and Stars Project Grant; 2018 Executive Level Clark Hulings Fund, 2018 Kristal Martı award by KALID in Istanbul; and the 2017 Tending Space Fellowship for Artists by Hemera Foundation. She is also a National Sculpture Society elected member.  Her work was publicized in the PhotoPhore, Fort Morgan Times, Pittsburgh Articulate, The Tribune

Review, Les Femmes Folles, the Daily Camera, Chicago Reader, The Examiner and Reporter Herald.

Customs House Museum Visitor Information


The museum’s admission prices are $7 for adults, $5 for seniors (65+), $5 college students, $3 for children (6-18) and free for children 5 and under.

Gallery Hours: Tues-Sat 10-5 pm Sun, 1-5 pm; for general information, call 931 648 5780 or visit the museum online at:


Att: Terri Jordan, Curator

(931) 648-5780

Belgin Yücelen, Artist

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