A Turkish Artist Makes a Safe Haven for Icons

February 19, 2015 10:50 PM

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Turkish Artist Ismail Acar was house-hunting in Istanbul 16 years ago when he came across an ad for an old building on a historic street. It was during an important time in his life, when he was holding his first major exhibition in another corner of the city at the Hagia Sophia Museum—drawing hundreds of thousands of visitors to his work. He immediately decided to buy the building and turn it into a home and studio.

“I had success for the first time at the Hagia Sophia. Now I see it every day when I come home and every morning when I wake up in Istanbul,” he says about his distant view of the sixth-century church-turned-mosque.

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