The Visit


The information of Murtaza Elgin’s grave being in Zincirlikuyu Cemetery was an information in the newspapers of the period. Nevertheless, the address of Elgin’s grave was not available on the internet since the state cemetery archives were digitized in 1996 and beyond. Leman S. Darıcıoğlu goes to the Zincirlikuyu Cemetery and get the address from the archive department: 28th island, grave 479. The 28th island being full of family cemeteries leads Darıcıoğlu to look at the secluded corners, asides by thinking that they wouldn’t bury him next to families. With the help of the cemetery workers, the artist searches high and low for the 28th island but she* cannot find it. She* calls the archive department, and finds the grave of Murtaza among the family graves with the help of the map which the officer sends. But what she* sees is a tomb covered with weeds, a tombstone broken and fallen; a grave which has become kind of a “no-grave”.

The next step was to re-establish it and leave white lilies and a little sound on its chest.

* Murtaza Elgin was the first well-known person diagnosed with HIV in Turkey in 1985. The doctor who diagnosed him exposed him to the newspapers in order to gain fame through it. He was one of the back vocalist of a famous Turkish singer, Ibrahim Tatlıses. Since the newspapers published the news with his name and his photo, he was left alone by the people of popular music scene who had been his friends until that time. He lived with HIV for seven years. His life had become a matter of public until he died in 1992. Only two people attended his funeral. The imams who washed his body, wrapped his body up with nylons, they put him in a zinc coffin and burried him in a 2.5 meters tomb covered with limestone powder.

The Visit is commissioned by EUROPACH for HIVStories: Living Politics exhibition Istanbul curated by Zülfukar Çetin, Agata Dziuban, Friederike Faust, Emily Jay Nicholls, Noora Oertel, Todd Sekuler, Justyna Struzik, Alper Turan and added to the EUROPACH’s digital archive after the exhibition.