Bringing the World to Turkey


​Akbank Art Center

Akbank Sanat (Akbank Art Center) was established in 1993 by Akbank aiming to support the development of Contemporary Art in Turkey. With an innovative understanding, Akbank Sanat, embraces international projects in various different fields of art and to make a merit of su​​pporting emerging artists.

One of the first institutions that comes to mind in the field of contemporary art in Turkey, Akbank Sanat, organizes over 700 events annually, ranging from exhibitions to performances of modern dance, from classical music recitals to jazz concerts, from panels to children’s workshops and film screenings to theater.

The Contemporary Art Gallery hosts various national and international exhibitions. The gallery is a space for the works of world-renowned local and foreign artists.

With Akbank Sanat International Curator Competition and Akbank Contemporary Artists Award projects, fulfilling its purpose by offering young curator and artists a chance to exhibit. The exhibitions’ thematic outline is highlighted by conferences, workshops and performances. The institution hosting at least four exhibitions every year has become one of the focal centers of modern art in our country.

Akbank Sanat presents examples of different genres of music ranging from classical music to jazz to its audiences throughout the year. With mini-festivals, such as “Piano Days”, “Guitar Days”, “World Music Days” and “Days of Jazz” Akbank Sanat accommodates virtuosos in classical music and masters of jazz from Turkey and around the world, as well as uniting young talents, the musicians of the future, with the audience. The “masterclass” and “workshop” activities organized every month with the participation of prominent artists initiate the training of professional musicians and provide music lovers with the opportunity to learn more about their fields of interest.

The “Dance Studio”, located on the top floor of the Akbank Sanat building, hosts a range of educational activities from open rehearsals to workshops by guest choreographers, from the series of events by young choreographers to technical training courses by domestic and foreign instructors, while at the same time accommodating performances of modern dance by internationally recognized masters of dance every month. Having staged several plays by contemporary authors, Akbank Sanat continues to present Akbank Children’s Theatre, performing for children for over 40 years. Moreover, Akbank Sanat contributes to the artistic development of children through fun and educational activities such as; toy sculpture, mobile sculpture, mosaic, watercolor in water, creative drama and linoleum print workshops organized by the Contemporary Art Workshop with the participation of expert educators.

The institution hosting at least four exhibitions every year has become one of the focal centers of modern art in our country.​

​Akbank Children's Theater

Akbank Children’s Theatre, which is Turkey's longest lasting children’s theatre, opened its curtains for the first time in 1972. Reaching over 2 million children all across Turkey within these years, Akbank Children’s Theatre has a significant effect in bringing up a theatre-lover generation.

Akbank Children’s Theatre, celebrating its 40th anniversary, put on stage “Shrek”, a world famous musical in 2012 with Turkish players and in Turkish language for the first time in Turkey. The play attracted a lot of attention, performed representations one more entertaining than the other within the scope of Anatolia tour and enabled many children to meet the magical world of theatre.

In 2013, Akbank Children’s Theatre started to cooperate with the Polka Theatre in London, which has been exhibiting plays for children and young people and carrying out different workshop activities since 1979. The "Inside Outside", a funny play full of surprises which was created within the framework of the texts written by the participating children as a result of the workshop activities organized by London Polka Theatre for children.

Akbank Children’s Theatre welcomes also 2014 with an original and educational play. The play "Family Tree", written by the English writer Rachell Barnett, aims at giving children an awareness of saving.

​In 2016 Akbank Children’s Theatre welcomes one of the most famous adventures of the world literature, “80 Days World Tour, adapted from the novel by Jules Verne’s.

​Akbank Jazz Festival

Akbank Jazz Festival which is among the symbols of Akbank in creating permanent values and in making these values sustainable and which is one of the longest festivals of Turkey, celebrated its 25.year in 2015. It hosted the most important jazz artists of the world including Max Roach, Art Ensemble of Africa, Cecil Taylor, Abbey Lincoln, Dave Holland, Archie Shepp, McCoy Tyner, Henry Threadgill, Abdullah İbrahim Trio, Steve Coleman & Five Elements, Stephan Micus, Roberto Fonseca, İbrahim Maalouf, Eleni Karaindrou, Rembrandt Frerichs Trio, Enrico Rava, Mare Nostrum, Jim Rotondi, Jamie Cullum, Christian McBride, Terje Rypdall, Manu Katché, John Scofield & Joe Lovano'ın and Bill Frisell and became a witness for unforgettable performances.

The Festival became an anticipated event not only in Turkey, but also in the international platform with the artists and groups which it brings. In 2015, the festival brought nearly 300 artists and the audience together with 55 concerts between 21st October – 31st October. Jazz in the Campus Event was held in university campuses in eight different cities between 03-14 November. This year, having started a new project bringing the art and music together for the celebration of its 25th year, Akbank Sanat presented a retrospective view for art with illustrations created by 9 special names that are among the major illustration artists through the project “25 Years of Akbank Jazz Festival”.

This year, the youngs were also included in the volunteering projects which Akbank has been conducting with its employees for long years within the scope of social responsibility studies, with 25th Akbank Jazz Festival. 400 university students who are volunteers of the project “Good State of the City” had the opportunity to watch the Belle & Sebastian concert which was held on 30th October in Volkswagen Arena at a special area in the front reserved for them. Besides the outstanding examples of American and European Jazz; a wide variety of music types from classical jazz to avant-garde timbres and electronica which is one of the world music. In addition to the concerts, a fulfilling festival program including panels, interviews and workshops.

​Akbank Short F​ilm Fe​stival

Akbank Short Movie Festival which creates an effective platform and started in 2004 in order to support the new ideas and short movie culture, has hosted several famous directors and brought them and the audience together during the the years passed. The awarded movie from the festival programme which are also recognized and rewarded abroad showed how a right route is the festival following through. Reserving a special place for itself in the cinema sector and being essential especially for the young movie makers, the festival appeals to all cinema lovers not only with movie screening but also the workshops and panels organized.

The festival will celebrate its 12th year between 7-17th Match in 2010 and present a programme full of workshops with a wide participation from domestic and international individuals and with the interviews to the cinema lovers who will follow the programme with pleasure. Besides the sections with competitions, the “Perspective” section which will be a first this year will extend the range with beautiful short movies. 822 short movies from 45 countries in total will meet the audience.



International Istanbul Film Festival​

Since 2004, Akbank has been the main supporter of the International Istanbul Film Festival, which contributes to the establishment of a deeply-rooted cinema culture, bringing movie lovers the best and most original films from around the world along with special events featuring top stars and noted directors. Closely followed by a broad viewer base, many of whom are young people, the Festival opens the doors to a whole new world through the different lives and varied points of view it presents, as well as its extensive selection of films. Akbank believes that these qualities embody the Festival's important mission and hopes to enjoy a long cooperation with the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts, the Festival's organizer.

​Contemporary İstanbul

​Contemporary Istanbul, the "modern and contemporary art" event with the widest scope in Turkey, introduces the country's cultural and artistic life to the world. Akbank​, as the sponsor of Contemporary Istanbul since 2007, is recognized by the inter​national art community with its contribution to one of the most important modern art events in Turkey. Besides the art fair facility, Contemporary Istanbul presents many side events and art projects throughout the year, from discussion panels to exhibitions​



​A Surrealist in Istanbul: Salvador Dali Exhibition

Sabancı University's Sakıp Sabancı Museum, with sponsorship from Akbank, hosted works by one of the most important artists of the surrealist movement, Salvador Dalí, beginning from september 2008. Featuring the most comprehensive exhibition of Dali's collected works outside of the artist's homeland of Spain ever, this exhibition created to be a very compelling attraction not just locally, but globally. Akbank is proud to achieve another first by making it possible for Turkish art lovers to visit an exhibition of the works of one of the greatest artists of the 20th century, the leading figure of the surrealist movement, a unique, innovative, talented, paradigm-changing artist and eccentric, Salvador Dalí.

​The Rodin Exhibition

The works of Rodin, the great master of the art of sculpture, greet art loves.​

This major exhibition held in 2006 was organized by Sabancı University's Sakıp Sabancı Musuem with sponsorship from Akbank and aimed to introduce the works of the great master of the art of sculpture to a broad audience .A total of 203 works from the Rodin Museum in Paris were included in this Rodin retrospective, including sculptures in bronze, marble and plaster, as well as archive photos, pieces from the artist's collection of Classical sculpture and original designs for his works.The exhibition, which attracted hundreds of visitors, was complemented by conferences, sculpture workshops and children's programs, making it a 360 program that shed light on every aspect to Auguste Rodin'a life and works.​


Anish Kapoo​r in Istanbul

The works of Anish Kapoor, one of the most influential sculptors of his generation, met with the art lovers in Turkey with the support of Akbank.

​Featuring the most comprehensive exhibition of one of the leading international artist, Anish Kapoor was in Istanbul with the sponsorship of Akbank within the scope ​of Akbank’s 65th anniversary. This exhibition was the first to focus on the artist's stone works, made from materials such as marble and alabaster, most of which had never been exhibited before. The exhibition, which included iconic works combining sculpture, architecture, engineering and technology such as Sky Mirror and Yellow, was exhibited in the galleries and the garden of Sakıp Sabancı Museum. The works of Anish Kapoor greeted art lovers in Sabancı University Sakıp Sabancı Museum, between September 10, 2013 – February 02, 2014.

ZERO Exhibition

Countdown to the future...

The German artists' group ZERO’s innovative and dynamic soul was in İstanbul!

Ever since the days of our early history, we have supported culture and the arts by bringing them to the masses, and fostered creativity and critical thought. Works by internationally renowned painters and sculptors like Auguste Rodin, Salvador Dali, and Anish Kapoor were brought to Turkey with the cooperation of Akbank and Sabancı University Sakıp Sabancı Museum. As more, the first large-scale historical exhibition in Turkey dedicated to the landmark 20th century artists' group ZERO came to Istanbul.

ZERO reshaped modern art with its innovative approach, and as art aficionados worldwide slowly rediscover this singular movement in post-war German art, it is our great pleasure to bring the exhibition “Countdown to the Future” to Turkey. The ZERO movement, which travelled through countries and was adopted internationally in its active period during the 1950s and 1960s, was initiated as a response to the desperation and the stagnancy of the art world in the aftermath of World War II, taking its name from the countdown to a rocket launch.

The ZERO Exhibition brought together over 100 works of art by the movement’s founders Heinz Mack, Otto Piene, and Günther Uecker along with the works of notable artists associated with the movement; Yves Klein, Piero Manzoni, and Lucio Fontana.