Dereli Art: medium-sized marble remnants are turned into small works of art that bring the company closer to the goal of “zero-waste production“

Dereli Art: Work by Nurdan Taş.

The family business extracts and processes the white stone from the island of Marmara

The idea of sustainability is upsetting the world: whether it’s okay to chop up a million-year-old block of marble to create a work of art and – virtually incidentally – a whole lot of stone waste, no one has ever asked and, we think, there’s no need to ask. The Turkish family business Dereli Mermer, however, with its subsidiary Dereli Art, takes up the same issue from a different angle: is it perhaps possible to use the many medium-sized leftover pieces that accumulate somewhere in the processing of natural stone as material for sculptural works?

So, the artist is a recycler of what is left over from the extraction of natural stone, so to speak?

On the web pages with their company profile Dereli Art mentions as its “vision“ a “zero-waste production“. Other objectives revolve around the company’s carbon footprint.

Dereli Art: Work by Cenan Aktaş.Dereli Art: Work by Banu Yildirim.

The material in question is white marble with a silver sheen from the island of Marmara – for some years now, efforts have been made on the island off the coast of Istanbul to give the once world-famous but recently forgotten material a new lease on life. The local government supports this.

However, Dereli Art does not only want to help with the marketing of the stone.

The company is also expressly concerned with promoting young artists from the region. “Our adventure started off in Summer 2020 when we invited a group of young sculptors to our quarry in the Marmara Island, and those stones began to give birth to their inner gems in the hands of these young and keen hands,“ as the webpage poetically states.

In the long term, they want to establish “an art collective“ on the island not only for sculptors, but also for other disciplines.

Dereli Art: Work by Nurdan Taş.Dereli Art: Work by Cenan Aktaş.

At the Izmir 2021 fair, some of the works of 3 young women were presented at the stand of Dereli Art. More can be found on the webpage.

All of them are representational works. The young women had met Gülce Dereli during their studies in Istanbul. After studying industrial design, she now works as a jewelry designer (with stone, among other things), and had let her inspire them for the company project. Gülce’s brother Yalçın, in turn, came up with the idea for Dereli Art, of which he is now general manager.

Dereli Art: Work by Banu Yildirim.Dereli Art: work by Ezgi Lemur.

The Dereli family has been active in the extraction of mineral raw materials since the 1940s. Initially, it supplied the glass industry with dolomite limestone. In 2019, the mining of marble blocks was added, and now there is also the art division.

In the future, it also wants to supply end products for architects and construction projects.

Dereli Art’s mission statement is prominently displayed in large letters on a web page: “In this relentlessly consumerist age of technology, we believe in the magic of creation and the healing power of art.“

Dereli Art

Dereli Maden

Gülce Dereli

Gülce Dereli (left) and three of the scupltresses of Dereli Art (f.l.t.r.): Ezgi Temur, Nurdan Taş, Banu Yildirim.

21.10.2021, USA: 10.21.2021)