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Ebru painter wins 'war' against water

ARTIST Murat Elhan is demonstrating traditional Ebru painting every day at the Turkey Pavilion.

Ebru painting, also known as the art of water marbling, is a unique technique allowing artists to draw patterns by sprinkling and brushing color pigments on a pan of water or a viscous oily solution. It originated about 1,000 years ago.

He draws under the water surface to create patterns on a piece of paper.

"You have to gain control over the colors, or the water will draw the picture instead of you," said Elhan.

The 36 year old said he took delight in waging a "war" against water, and he always wins because he knows the key to success - finding the perfect density of pigments.

"It's all about density. You can feel the density with your own hands," Elhan said.

He said skillful Ebru artists should know when to add more water into the pan as the pigments will sink due to their high density, and they should also know when to add more pigments if their low density gives the water a chance to dissolve them.

"You gain control over the colors and you can draw anything, but if the situation is well out of hand, the water will dissolve the pigments into a free style," he said.

To win the little "war" against water, Elhan said he has created a group of elite "soldiers," a term he uses to refer to his own handmade pigments, brushes, pan and sticks.

Elhan is also a well-known teacher of Ebru painting in Turkey. He has taught hundreds of students how to control the colors, passing the graceful art to younger generations.

He learned at the age of 10, simply by watching his father, who supported the family by selling his Ebru paintings.

Elhan draws everything from flowers and water waves to abstract lines and patterns. It sometimes takes six hours to finish a piece.

"The art is very open to minds, it requires so much concentration that you forget about time," he said.

Elhan will be at the Turkey Pavilion's exit from 11am to 7pm every day until the Expo ends on October 31. If you don't see him, look around for a crowd of people. He will likely be the guy in the middle of the big crowd.


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