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. Akbank Art Center will celebrate its 25th year in 2018.

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 45 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.

Beginning from October 2017, Akbank Children's Theater began staging its new play "Gorilla". "Gorilla" written by Anthony Browne, has been chosen by public polls as one of "Top 10 Childrens Books" in England.

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 27th year in 2017. Akbank Jazz Festival, the most perennial jazz festival in Turkey, was launched in 1991 with concerts organized in Istanbul. Not only hosting the prominent jazz figures across the world but also paving the way for emerging and promising next-gen artists, the Festival has now made it into a versatile organization by adopting panels, workshops, film screening sessions, concerts and social responsibility projects.

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 2017, the festival brought nearly 300 artists and the audience together with 53 concerts. Akbank Jazz Festival, which has a gradually increasing graphic with millions of followers so far, hosted special performances for its 27th year, between November 3 and 19. Among the stars to take the stages, some of the names are; Vanessa Rubin, one of the great ambassadors of jazz in the world, Ala.Ni, whose songs have been listened over 2.5 million on digital platforms to date, Ecuadorian producer and musician Nicola Cruz, British producer and musician Bonobo, Cuban jazz pianist and composer Alfredo Rodríguez, American drummer and producer Mark Guilliana, British saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings with The Ancestors, consisting of South African musicians, and Red Baraat. The festival, which will host Kenan Doğulu and Sattas under the innovative projects section, will bring together many new Turkish talents such as Emin Fındıkoğlu, İlhan Erşahin, Baki Duyarlar, Çağıl Kaya, Çağrı Sertel and Şenay Lambaoğlu as well as talents of the new generation such as Evrencan Gündüz and Hakan Başar with music lovers.

Rodin Exhibition

Akbank undertook the sponsorship of this huge event that aimed to introduce the art of sculpture to a broad audience with the works of a great master, organized in the Sabani University Sakip Sabanci Museum. Featuring 203 works of art from the Paris Rodin Museum collection, this Rodin retrospective showcased bronze, plaster and marble sculptures as well as archived photographs and pieces from his antique sculpture collection alongside many of his designs. With conferences, sculpture workshops and children’s educational programs within the scope of this exhibition, which was attended by hundreds of art enthusiasts, this comprehensive project shone a spotlight on the life and artistic journey of Auguste Rodin.​​​

A Surrealist in Istanbul: Salvador Dali

Sponsored by Akbank, one of the Surrealist movement’s most important artists, Salvador Dali, was presented to art enthusiasts at the Sabanci University Sakip Sabanci Museum from 20 September 2008 – 1 February 2009. The exhibition was distinguished by the fact that it was the largest Salvador Dali exhibition ever to have been held outside of Spain, with a total of 385 works of art, including not only the artist’s oil paintings but also his drawings and graphic art work. Akbank is proud to have achieved a first by bringing together art enthusiasts with Salvador Dali, one of the 20th Century’s greatest artists, a pioneer of the surrealist movement, and a unique, innovative, talented, epochal and unusual personality.​​​

Anish Kapoor in Istanbul

​​One of the first names to spring to mind when international contemporary art is being discussed, the works of Anish Kapoor were presented to art enthusiasts for the first time in Turkey, with Akbank’s support.Internationally renowned artist Anish Kapoor’s first comprehensive exhibition in Turkey was brought to Istanbul through the sponsorship of Akbank, on the occasion of Akbank’s 65th anniversary. The exhibition is noteworthy for being the first to focus on his stone works, made from materials like marble and alabaster, most of which had not previously been exhibited. Also featuring his iconic works such as Sky Mirror and Yellow, which incorporate a blend of sculpture, architecture, engineering and technology, the exhibition was held in the galleries and gardens of Sakip Sabanci Museum. Art enthusiasts were treated to the works of Anish Kapoor at Sabanci University’s Sakip Sabanci Museum from 10 September 2013 t 2 February 2014.

ZERO. Countdown to the future…

​​A huge art movement that emerged in the middle of the 20th century, the innovative and dynamic spirit of ZERO was in Istanbul. As one of Turkey’s greatest supporters of modern and contemporary art, Akbank Art Center has collaborated with Sabancı University Sakıp Sabancı Museum to present Turkish art enthusiasts with the works of world-renowned painters and sculptors like Auguste Rodin, Salvador Dali, and Anish Kapoor. As part of these initiatives, Istanbul hosted Turkey’s first comprehensive exhibition of ZERO, the art movement that made its mark on the 20th century. An art movement that came about after the physical, emotional and cultural destruction following World War II, when a group of artists came together and began producing individual as well as joint works with the philosophy of “starting over”, ZERO was showcased to art enthusiasts between 2 September 2015 and 10 January 2016 through the collacorative efforts of Akbank Art and Sabanci University Sakip Sabanci Museum.The exhibition included over 100 works in various media by founders of the ZERO movement, Heinz Mack, Otto Piene and Gunther Uecker, as well as important artists who contributed to the movement such as Yves Klein, Piero Manzoni and Lucio Fontana.​


With the support of Akbank, Sabancı University Sakıp Sabancı Museum hosts Ai Weiwei’s first exhibition in Turkey. The exhibition, inaugurated on 12 September 2017, showcases an extensive selection from the artist’s oeuvre alongside new works. Focusing on Ai Weiwei’s wide-ranging production in the medium of porcelain, the exhibition presents a narrative informed by the artist’s life story and his approach to both the tradition of craftsmanship and art history. 

Within the scope of the exhibition, each stage of Ai Weiwei’s prolific journey in porcelain is presented with his iconic works. Transferring his contemporary message through the language of traditional Chinese craft, Ai Weiwei’s art practice provides the viewer with a perspective on the paradoxes of our time. 

The exhibition offers a comprehensive view of Ai Weiwei’s art practice through a structure built through recurrent themes in his works. Dealing with the concepts of authenticity, the transformation of the value systems throughout different eras and cultural history, Ai Weiwei’s works call the viewers’ understanding of cultural, artistic and historical values into question. 

With its wide-range and extensive selection of works in the medium of porcelain—the earliest work dates back four decades and the exhibition contains over 100 art works—this exhibition at the Sabancı University Sakıp Sabancı Museum stands out as one of the most unique explorations into this singular artist’s practice.

Akbank Short Film Festival​

Akbank Short Movie Festival which creates an effective platform andstarted in 2004 in order to support the new ideas and short movie culture, hashosted several famous directors and brought them and the audience togetherduring the the years passed. The awarded movie from the festival programmewhich are also recognized and rewarded abroad showed how a right route is thefestival following through. Reserving a special place for itself in the cinemasector 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 celebrated  its 13th year between 3-13 March 2017 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. 1055 short movies from 52 countries in total will meet the audience. 14th Akbank Short Film Festival will take place between 19th and 29th of March 2018.