The West meets East in Palta’s miniatures

Palta's collection of miniatures succesfully merge elements from both Western and Eastern cultures

Palta's collection of miniatures succesfully merge elements from both Western and Eastern cultures

by Tuncay Kayaoglu

ISTANBUL - Orhan Pamuk’s “My Name is Red” introduced miniature art and its place in the Ottoman court to a Western audience. Two decades after the publication of Pamuk’s novel in English, Murat Palta, a 24-year old Turkish artist, generated a new wave of interest in this Ottoman art form when he miniaturized famous movies such as Star Wars, Kill Bill and the Godfather.

Miniature art is ubiquitous in Turkey. Turks encounter humans, animals, buildings and landscape miniatures in everyday life, depicted in postcards to mosque decorations. Palta’s miniaturization of American movies introduces a twist in this classical art form.

“I imagined how Star Wars would look like if an Ottoman artist would depict it in a book,” Palta said. He added he miniaturized seven Hollywood blockbusters: The Godfather, The Shining, Star Wars, Scarface, Inception, Pulp Fiction, and Terminator 2. In his miniatures of these movies, the West meets East. “I have three criteria in mind while thinking which movie to miniaturize. It must be from Western culture, compatible with miniature art world, and famous,” Palta said.

Palta drew miniatures for his undergraduate thesis and completed them in two months. His collection has become popular and he received global attention in 2012 when the collection was made available on the internet. “Initially, I thought movie-goers would love these drawings. But, the miniatures attracted interest beyond my imagination,” Palta said. He exhibited his collection in Algeria as a part of an art festival and this collection was received with great interest.

Palta hopes that his miniatures will change the perception of Ottoman art in contemporary Turkey. He complains that most people see miniature merely as a hobby and stresses that the Ottoman miniaturists were first-rate professionals rather than amateurs. They were the artists of their age rather than hobbyists.

Palta wishes to exhibit his work worldwide, including in London and New York.

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