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artist's publication/photo-book

hardcover, 8.25x11" 

272 pages

in English with a Turkish translation

includes a 16 page insert "Taxi Rides"

publication date: 2010

Eighteen Publication 
distributed by D.A.P.


Link to see the entire archive for this project.

Link to see the exhibit.

In this 15 year long work we examine the contemporary imagery of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, Turkey’s revolutionary leader after World War I. From 1923 until his death in 1938, by the sheer force of his personality and his command of the military, he fashioned Turkish culture through the prism of his vision for a secular state. He created a new sense of nationalism, exiled the Sultan and diminished the power of religion by abolishing the Sunni Muslim Caliphate. The wearing of religious clothing was banned in public. In an effort to identify Turkey as a modern and Western state, Mustafa Kemal dropped the Arabic alphabet in favor of Latin characters, expanded secular public education, and new rights for women. He required that everyone adopt a last name and his became “Atatürk,” ancestor of all Turks.


Between 1997 and 2009, Mike an American, and Chantal Turkish, have employed the imagery of Atatürk to create a portrait of all sides of the body politic: the symbol of the secular revolutionary hero, the power of the state that resides with the military, and in opposition, the demands for renewed religious political expression symbolized by the Islamist scarf.


The State of Ata weaves together the artists’ photographs of Turkish society, the public imagery and sculptural presence of Atatürk, documentation of their own interventions and performances, interviews, and a collection of archival and popular imagery. The book is conceived as a collection of books within books: a photo book, a school book, a diary, a fantasy album of military portraits.

This project was created with the help of numerous Faculty Enrichment Grants and Travel Grants from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. It was also supported a MacDowell Colony Fellowship in 2002.

The State of Ata has been presented as a visual book reading at Boston College MA, School of the Museum of Fine Arts MA, School of the Art Institute of Chicago IL, Photo-eye Santa Fe NM, University of Colorado in Boulder CO, University of New Mexico in Albuquerque NM, Center for Creative Studies in Tucson AZ and Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester NY.


Please contact the artists if you are interested in scheduling an event.

Sample Pages
Narratives of Conflict: Chantal Zakari, Center for Book Arts, New York, NY 
7 Turkish Artists, Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore MD
7 Turkish Artists, Photographic Resource Center, Boston MA
Ata•Türk, Kennesaw State University, Fine Arts Gallery, Kennesaw GA

Seeing Ata, Basak Sigorta Galerisi, Ankara, Turkey


Seeing Ata, Basak Sigorta Galerisi, Izmir, Turkey

the archive of exhibits is under the 7 Turkish Artists: Mike Mandel & Chantal Zakari link
Reviews & Press

VSW Photobook Symposium, book signing event, 2010

on press in Singapore, TWP Press, 2010

The State of Ata sold in a bookstore in Istanbu, Istiklal Caddesi.


Artforum (International), Mike Mandel and Chantal Zakari, by Nuit Banai, December 2011

Journal of Association for Modern & Contemporary Art of the Arab World, Iran and Turkey (Middle

East), Review of The State of Ata by Berin Gölönü, July 2011 (Middle East) Atatürk is Not Dead by Clément Girardot, May 2011

Susam Sokak (Fr) Chantal Zakari, Mike Mandel, Atatürk... by Etinenne Copeaux, February 2011

Kaleidoscope (Europe) by Leah Whitman-Salking, Fall 2010


Taraf (Turkey) Türklerin Ataturk Sanati, interview and review of book by Erkan Doganay, August 26, 2010

Artbook (blog) interview by Thomas Evans, June 29, 2010

Photoworks UK (UK) The State of Ata by Arzu Ozkal, May 2010

Le Monde (Fr blog) Au fil du Bosphore, Un Ata dans L’Etat, Guillaume Perrier, May 23, 2010

Le Monde (Fr blog) Des livres et des photos, The State of Ata, Remi Coignet, May 20, 2010


Consiencious (UK blog) The State of Ata, Joerg Coldberg, May 14, 2010

Big Red & Shiny, Southern Double Feature by Steve Aishman - issue #105, April 2009

references in books

Muslim Nationalism and the New Turks by Jenny White, Princeton University Press, 2014


Beyond Anıtkabir: The Funerary Architecture of Atatürk by Christopher S. Wilson, Ataturk and His Representation in Turkey, Ashgate Publishing Ltd. - 2013, Routledge, 2016


Faces of The State, Secularism and Public Life in Turkey by Yael Navaro-Yashin Chapter 6: The Cult of Atatürk, section 1: Like a Cross That Stops the Devil, p190-191, Princeton University Press - 2002 



Sabah (Turkey) Anıtkabir’in ötesi, by Hasan Bülent Kahraman, September 11, 2015

Levantine Heritage (UK) The Background To The Book The State of Ata, by Craig Encer, Fall 2010

Milliyet (Turkey) Atatürk’ü yadsiyanlar, Atalarını ve Türkiye’yi yadsiyanlardir! Chantal Zakari’yi

anımsadınızmı? by Erhan Soysaltürk, July 12, 2010

Vatan (Turkey) Cumhuriyet’in Kızı ABD’de Atatürk Kitabı Yayımladı, by Tugrul Tunaligil, May 8, 2010


Hurriyet (Turkey) Cumhuriyetin Kizindan Atatürk Kitabi, April 26, 2010

Boston Globe, Shelf Life, Turkey’s Divide, by Jan Gardner, April 25, 2010

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