The Manifesto

Zurich, 1916. The entire world was struggling with the darkness of the Great War, its depression and shock, and there emerged a group of artists who said: “Art is dead; long live art!” This phrase became the first flame of a protest movement that opposed conventional rules and disciplines, rejected the current forms and techniques and stood bravely up against Europe’s conceptions of culture and civilization that created never-ending wars. Inspired by the word that most babies utter first, ‘dada’, this group of people called themselves the dadaists. Putting childlike excitements at the center of their art, they started an international and multicultural trend that would transform the world.


Kuzguncuk, early 1900s. With the recently introduced ferries of Şirket-i Hayriye, Kuzguncuk’s business life is bustling with excitement. In spite of the wars taking place all over the world, a rare sight of tolerance is prevailing in Kuzguncuk. Armenian, Greek, Jewish and Turkish families are living together, each observing their religion in respective places of worship that stood next to each other. At today’s Perihan Abla Street, for instance, Mr. Ömer the Turk’s glass shop is across from Mr. Stefan the Armenian at number 5, and next to the Greek fisherman Tatyos.

“Today we are at a place that connects these two stories. Feeding on childlike excitements, Dadaists’ multicultural perspective gave our journey its name, and Kuzguncuk, preserving its multicultural, peaceful and international understanding, has become our home. Dada Kuzguncuk brings the antique aesthetics and elegance to the present day without getting lost in nostalgic melancholy. The antique objects give the place a soul that aims to create an original world with modern art projects.”

We are in Kuzguncuk at Mr. Ömer’s abovementioned glass shop we are at Perihan Abla Sokak, number 6. The objects that Aslı Şekerci has collected over the years from all over the world with that childlike excitement and care are waiting at Dada Kuzguncuk’s antique store on the ground floor to start their new lives in their new homes. Workshops and exhibitions specifically targeted at children are held on the upper floor. Coming together with the objects of the ground floor they build a bridge between the past and the present.


Life unfolds at a different tempo at Dada Kuzguncuk. The helter skelter and the chaos of the outer world stays outside of their doors, and another, smaller universe that is far from the daily hustle and interwoven with art and history is awaiting those who need to take a break from it all.


Come and stop by sometime. Let’s experience this together.

About Aslı Altan Şekerci

Aslı Altan Şekerci, founder of Dada, was born in 1972. She has kept up her hobby of collecting antiques for the past 22 years alongside her career, and is now turning it into her own profession by sharing it. Şekerci tells us that giving life to abandoned objects carries a personal significance for her and that she aims to create a space for children making use of her years long professional experience in the field. Having majored in Industrial Arts, Şekerci has been designing and coordinating art projects for children since 1996 at such institutions as Karagözyan Armenian Private Elementary School, IELEV Educational Institutions, and Bilfen Private Schools of Magic Bells. She has also worked for children’s workshops held at Sakıp Sabancı Museum as part of Söz Consultancy, and helped to build and implement trainings for children held alongside celebrated exhibitions such as Rodin, Picasso, Dali, and Abidin Dino. Şekerci’s areas of expertise include adopting art education as a life skill and a behavioral culture, creating museum pedagogics and museum behavior as part of the natural educational process, identifying students’ individual differences and learning abilities, and making sure that the productive-creative behavior is implemented in every area of learning in a way that is both independent and natural but also carries an aesthetic tone with it.