Asuman and Atanur Dogan are Turkish-Canadian watercolorists and sculptors. The couple met in 1983, while studying Fine Arts at Dokuz Eylul University in Izmir, Turkey. They began their travels together studying the Anatolian villages of Turkey and developed an acute awareness of the countryside and its inhabitants. Their sensitivity and appreciation for the old way of life has influenced their artistic style.
Being an adventurous couple, in 1993 they brought Atas, their then three-year old son, to Canada and became established as artists in Vancouver. They traveled throughout Canada and in 1997, their second son Ata was born in Vancouver, BC. The Dogan’s now have dual citizenship, and work in both countries. They have traveled extensively throughout North America and Europe. Discovering new and different cultures provides additional subject material for their art work.
They have held exhibits throughout Turkey and in Zurich, Paris, London, as well as in Taiwan and Japan. In North America, their work has been exhibited in New York, Los Angeles, Portland and Seattle; Toronto, Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton, Victoria, and numerous showings in Vancouver.
Asuman’s artwork is semi-expressionist in style. Her early work captures the essence of traditional village life in Turkey: the panoramic scene of a small town, or a narrow street and building in an Anatolian village. Her still life paintings are equally imaginative, characterized by the same application of loose washes and contrasting colours that bloom into each other to give a sense of both solidity and transience. Asuman’s painting has evolved over the years, reflecting the richness and inspiration of her travels, scenes from Venice or sunflowers in the French countryside.
Atanur’s paintings portray ordinary people going about their daily tasks, elderly men idling away time at a coffee shop, or characters involved in ancient Turkish customs. His figures emote both a sense of strength and poetry, especially reflecting emotions in the eyes and facial expressions. More recently, the subjects of his art are influenced by the people and cultures discovered in travels abroad In 2004, the Portrait Society of Canada selected Atanur Dogan, as one of five portrait artists, deemed best in the world. Atanur was also invited by the Portrait Society of Canada to be the demonstrating portrait artist at the “2004 International Portrait Arts Festival” held in Toronto. In 2009, the couple received the People’s Choice Award at one of North America’s largest art shows held at Toronto City Hall.
Both artists taught at the Painting and Sculpture Museum, the public high school, and the family art gallery, in Izmir, Turkey. In Canada, the artists provide workshops for various art groups and schools.
The couple has recently released a teaching DVD (available on the website) which outlines the variety of skills used in creating their different styles of water colour techniques.
A major accomplishment in the Dogan’s life occurred in May 2004, when they organized and hosted an international art exhibition, entitled “Peace Through Art”, it was held in the beautiful historic city of Cesme, in Turkey. The exhibition drew 285 artists from 22 countries; they came to share their art and the various techniques of watercolour with an international audience. Asuman and Atanur’s main objective was to demonstrate that an event of this nature could overcome language barriers and create new bonds through the medium of art.
In September 2008, the Dogan family relocated to Oakville, Ontario. While their eldest son attends the Media Arts program at Sheridan College, the couple intends to continue to create their watercolor art and to become involved in the art society of eastern and central Canada.