Interview: Ikebana Artist Neslihan Noyan (By Ö.Burcu Öztürk)
Hi Ms. Noyan. Welcome to my page. Could you please tell a little bit about yourself?
Hi, first of all, I would like to thank you for giving a space to me at your blog .I am Neslihan Noyan born and raised in Ankara. After graduating from the Fine Arts High School, I received my undergraduate degree from Hacettepe University’s American Culture and Literature Department. I worked as an English teacher not only in Turkey, but also in Japan and the U.S. I lived in Japan between 1997-2000 and attended Ohara İkebana School of Japan and studied Japanese. Then, I lived in the United States between 2000-2007 and I did my graduate studies on Linguistics at Syracuse University New York and taught English to foreigners in a language school. I have been working as an expert at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs since 2008. In 2010, I wrote a book on behalf of the Japanese Year in Turkey; namely “Japan as I Heard and Saw”. I have been attending ceramics classes and making my own containers for my flowers. I opened my first İkebana exhibition at the Turkish American Associations’s Emin Hekimgil Art Gallery on behalf of Mother’s Day with the title “ All mothers are flowers” and my second ikebana exhibition in March 2019 at the Turkish-Japanese Foundation with the title “ While waiting for Spring”.
How did your journey as an İkebana artist start?
I started İkebana to understand the Japanese sense of dealing with nature. Thanks to Hanami: Japanese Flower Observing season, I was able to develop a deeper understanding of enjoying flowers. When I was living in Japan, I often saw Japanese people gazing at flowers as if they have never ever seen one single blossom in their lives during the time of chery blossom season, which falls in April. So, I asked my friend the reason of this attitude. My friend said ”Neslihan-san Sakura: Cherry blossoms bloom for just about a week. Then they fall with the coming rain or wind. This is like a summary of the circle of life for us. Our lives are momentary just like the flowers. How did you make your life meaningful? What differences can you make while living? This is what we think when we observe them.” At that moment, I fell in love with this great philosophy. From that moment, I decided to disseminate this deep philosophy in my environment and in my country.
I have been doing ikebana over the last 20 years. This art has taught me that flowers do have their own language. While arranging flowers, you feel yourself as a part of nature and you become a whole with nature. I thought that this type of realisation shouldn’t be limited to only ikebanists therefore, I have started to give seminars and write projects to raise awareness on the issue of raising a respectful generation who adore and take lessons from nature.