Jewelry Inspired by Istanbul Mythology

By Nadine McCarthy Kahane

Deeply influenced by the rich mythology of Turkey, Aida Bergsen has transitioned her art from sculpture to jewelry design.

“Even the simplest street of Istanbul is an inspiration to me with its eclectic nature” Bergsen says. Countless civilizations have traversed Istanbul’s streets, forming what Aida calls a “social mosaic” in the cultural fiber.

Born in Cyprus to a painter, Aida resettled in Istanbul, where she learned how to mold bronze and other metals.

The boundaries between the foundation of sculpture, a rooted structure, and its contrast, fluidity, slowly began to dissolve. She experimented with the belief that sculptures went beyond just a visual form, and molded her art into wearable jewelry.

One of her earliest sculptural pieces was a likeness of Medusa. Eventually, her collections evolved into serpents, whether hammered in a bronze cuff or sensuously slithering up an adorned finger. “As a form, its something that flows,” she says.

Transforming earthly elements into exaggerated figures is the genesis of storytelling, after all. “Mythology is the ‘art’ of explaining natural or social phenomenon with supernatural beings and events,” she says.

She references mythology explicitly with creatures like snakes and scarabs, and pays homage through outfitting an ordinary beetle with blood-red torso and diamond-studded wings. It’s her way of participating in the mythological tradition of her adopted city, donating to its rich cultural heritage through her work as an artist.

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