Past Fellow

Sera Boeno



Sera Boeno (b. 1991) is a sculptor and installation artist from Istanbul, Turkey. Her praxis is research-based and heavily influenced by the socio-politics of her motherland. Narratives of and around women in historically silenced topics –politics, sex, religion, trauma– are central to her work. Concrete, metal, wood, and digital processes make the foundations of her practice. Boeno holds a B.A. Dartmouth College with degrees in Neuroscience and Studio Art, and an M.F.A from Rinehart School of Sculpture at the Maryland Institute College of Art with focuses in curatorial practice, critical studies and art education. She is the recipient of several awards and grants including the Baltimore Jewelry Center Fellowship and Amalie Rothschild ’34 Rinehart Award for her work. Boeno has shown and worked in various creative projects between Turkey, Japan and the United States. She is currently based in Baltimore, MD. 

Artist statement

My praxis is research based and influenced by the socio-politics of my motherland. Silenced topics –politics, sex, religion, trauma– are central to my work. I cast and catalog memories; I paint urban development; I sculpt violence against women; I make objects out of police misconduct; I collect small, intimate bits of information, and re-contextualize them in larger discourses.

This transformation of particular, evanescent stories into public, enduring narratives is a constant in my work; the subject matter varies. Currently I am working on Kelimeler Kıyafetsiz: a research project on representations of women in political speech from Turkey wherein I collect quotes that refer to women re-present these in monumental forms that celebrate male glory. In 2015, the text took the form of writing stones visually drawing from Orhon Inscriptions: Turkic artifacts glorifying 8th Century Göktürk Princes. In 2016, the text was built into a concrete frieze inspired by Assyrian reliefs eulogizing kings of Nineveh.

The 2018 iteration takes the form of an obelisk. The contemporaneity of the methodology and the materials is antithetical to the archeological visual language of these works, yielding modern day historical objects, reflecting the antiquated conceptualizations of womanhood in modern day patriarchies. The text reads “Men and women are….each other’s complementary”. Parallely, the 2018 monument has complementary counterparts: a set of golden mouth ornaments that cage the lips of its wearer in Turkish Illumination motifs. Delicate, seductive, and silencing, these beautiful gags confirm women’s exclusion from the linguistic realm, marginalization and ornamenatalization within history.