Turkish art displayed
at Clayton State

By Curt Yeomans


Pamir Thompson was captivated by the tile art she saw during a trip a few years ago to the Rustem Pasha mosque in Istanbul, Turkey.

The blue, white and turquoise tiles throughout the mosque were used to create images of clouds, carnations, tulips, and Arabic writing. Thompson, 60, an artist who grew up in Turkey but now lives in Lilburn, thought the images were "amazing."

"They are very ornamental," Thompson said. "They remind me of music to my ears. Ottoman music that is."

Thompson has recreated several of the patterns of the Rustem Pasha, and several other Turkish mosques, in paintings and ceramic displays which went on display at Clayton State University's library this week. The art will be on display at Clayton State through the third week of February.

The exhibit includes 16 paintings and several ceramic bowls and plates. Most of the paintings and ceramic objects show flowers painted in bright blues, oranges, red and yellows. The style is called Iznik design because it began in the Turkish city of Iznik in the 16th Century.

"I studied Iznik designs in high school, so when I made this art, I wanted to reproduce the designs on those tiles by staying very faithful to the original design and colors," Thompson said.

Thompson has an art degree from Youngstown State University in Ohio, and a teaching certificate from Georgia State University. The artist said she was 7 when her first painting was put on public display. She came in second in an art contest in Trabzon, Turkey, with a watercolor painting she made of the Trabzon harbor.

She continued to paint, and as a high school senior, she was given her own space at a school art exhibit.

Though she came to the United States to study chemistry, once Thompson was in this country, she determined art was too ingrained in her to study something else, she said. She eventually became an art teacher at schools in DeKalb and Gwinnett counties.

A group of Mundy's Mill High School students touring Clayton State's campus Wednesday stopped by the exhibit while in the library.

"I liked the fact that there was a lot of color used in the paintings," said Dulce Robledo, 15, a ninth-grader at Mundy's Mill. "I like to do a lot of drawing myself, and I thought this art was cute."

Orlando Pacheco, the associate director of Clayton State's Office of International Programs, said the art exhibit is part of the university's attempt to build ties with Turkey. It coincided with a visit by Turkish National Assembly Congressman Cuneyt Yuksel, who participated Monday in Clayton State's seminar on U.S.-Turkish relations.