Sevan the Craftsman

Monday, February 19th

ticket4:30 – 6:30PM
CARNEGIE Institution for Science

Sevan the Craftsman

Directed by Umran Safter
Turkey / 2018 / 72mins / US Premiere

Sevan the Craftsman is the story of Sevan Bicakci, the Istanbul Armenian maestro who with his skill of transforming precious metals and gems into majestic works of art has not only resuscitated the forgotten jewellery-making traditions of an empire but bestowed upon it a glamour previously unheard of.

Sevan’s journey to becoming the man whose artistry, skill and patience allows him to take inspiration from the myriad landmarks of eras bygone dotting the beautiful and mesmerising Istanbul skyline and create works of unparalleled magnificence starts when he was 12.

The 12-year-old Sevan, from an impoverished family, began his rise to master of his craft as an apprentice in the city’s most famous school for artisans: The Grand Bazaar. Now after a 33-year-long career, he is widely considered as the world’s real-life lord of the rings.

Sevan draws inspiration not just from the majestic architectural works bestowed upon the city by its various rulers from the Byzantines to Ottomans. He takes his inspiration from every aspect of this living and breathing city: the mesmerizing and sparkling blue waters of the Bosphorus strait, its fish, the daily lives of its residents…

But what sort of artisan is Sevan? Is he a jewellery designer? Is he a sculptor? Is he a painter? Or is he a combination of them all?

The feature-length documentary Sevan the Craftsman casts a glance into Sevan’s personal and professional journey to artist of global renown through the prism of him designing and crafting an emerald-topped ring. Containing re-enactments of Sevan’s childhood, the film tells his story through the voices of his family, fellow professionals, colleagues and friends.

The film is about Sevan’s rise from poverty to creator of art worth millions, and eagerly sought by the world’s rich, famous and powerful. It is also a film about the disappearing master-apprentice tradition and a changing city. But it is also a film about the history of multicultural Istanbul and the richness brought to it by its diverse peoples such as Sevan the Craftsman.

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