– 1921 He was born in the village of Seçköy (Bursa) in a house where he was surrounded by embroideries. After the 3rd grade of the elementary school, he was not given the opportunity to continue with his education. He protested this by not helping his family at work and since they were wealthy enough they left him to his own devices. Luckily so, because those were the years when he had planted the seeds of his painting and writing by freely drawing things and keeping journals everyday.
– 1941 While serving his time in the prison of Bursa he met Nazım Hikmet. By Nazım Hikmet he was tutored in painting, art history, philosophy, sociology and political economy.
– 1943 He was still in prison when he heard the news that his father was murdered and right after that his first wife passed away while giving birth. Unfortunately the baby couldn’t be saved either.
– 1944 He was transfered to the prison of İmralı.
– 1947 He was sent to the prison of Bursa due to propaganda of communism and his sentence was raised to 4 years, yet he was glad to be with his master Nazım Hikmet again.
– 1950 Both of them were released through the 1950 amnesty. When he got out he had finished 6 paintings called ‘Birth’, ‘Murder’, ‘Buffalos in Water’, ‘Spring’, ‘Jail Gate’ and ‘Harvest’. Nazım Hikmet wrote poems for the last three.
– 1951 He stayed at Nazım’s house for six months in İstanbul. They travelled the city together. During this period of time he painted ‘The Harvesters’.
– 1952 He was discharged of the military service where he met Hasan Hüseyin Korkmazgil, Mehmet Kemal and Hakkı Torunoğlu. After his discharge he eloped with the mother of his children. They had 2 sons, a daughter and five grand children.
– 1953 In İstanbul he held his first solo exhibition.
– 1961 Because of his paintings he was kept under arrest for 6 months.
– 1962 He and other artists were arrested because of their paintings during the exhibition of “Yeni Dal Grubu” (a group of artists who were against imitation of foreign painting). In the following years he would come to be taken into custody and be put on trials many more times.
Until now he created more than 2000 paintings, countless numbers of drawings, held more than 50 solo exhibitions, attended lots of group exhibitions and he did all this just like the way his “poet father” Nazım Hikmet wanted: Without holding a grudge against anybody who had hurt him .
His works were exhibited in lots of countries including USA. He wrote 11 published books. Among them are memoirs, short stories, essays (on painting) and 2 novels. Also, there are 4 books* written about him.
He is a painter, who producessocial realist works based on Anatolian peoples living and the folk legends. The artist, who initially depicted thepoverty of village life and the peasants production tools gradually extends over epics, folk beliefs, heroes, legends and mythology increasingly addresses migration to cities, city living and struggling for demokracy. During the last period, he has rendered the Anatolian Dervishes (Saints) and the Mothers of Fertility.
He cuts his artistic life into periods such as Scattered, Very Slowly, Embroidery-like, Toy-like, Captive and Freedom.
He summarizes his philosophy of art in this manifest:
“Art is the projection of living. Subject is the core, every core makes its own shell. I depict human being through dialectical methods instead of centimetric measures. In nature-human relationship human identity is shaped by means of production and so are my paintigs.
I don’t use colours with the concern of light or dark spots, I use them to bring out the light blinking in the eyes of the figures. I draw the horse according to the human being, not the other way around.”
1- Köksal, A. (1990) Balaban: Life, art, memories and echoes, Science Bookstore
2- Yılmaz, R.O. (2004) Balaban: Life lines, patterns, Science and Art Publications
3- Bilgin, Z.E (2008) Balaban: Projections of life, Bindallı Arthouse
4- Balaban, H.N. and Bilgin, Z.E (2009) Balaban: A painter Yunus Emre, Bindallı Arthouse