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Portrait of Mevhibe Sefik the first Turkish Cypriot woman art teacher.


The professional achievement of women is very important in the development of the Turkish Cypriot society. The role of the first women teachers in the progress of education system held an important share in the trend of modernization of the society. The first half of the 20th century for Cyprus was a period of struggle to gain independence and retain its national identity under difficult conditions both economically and politically. The presence of specialist women in every occupational field could not be achieved prior to the 1950s. The achievements can he performed only in an environment that offers a rich educational background. During the periods that lacked this essential educational system for female students on the island under the British Rule, young scholars training to be teachers made the best of every opportunity and knowledge they acquired from the educators, mainly non-natives to improve themselves. This paper will introduce the reader to one of these women who is the first Turkish art teacher in Cyprus. Our attempts to discover more about the life of this first woman art teacher led to Mevhibe Sefik. She is, in fact, remembered today not only as an art teacher but also as the first female typing instructor and stage designer.

Keywords: Mevhibe Sevik, Cyprus, Turkish woman, artists, theatre, art teacher, secondary education, girls's schools, art education.


A Society in an Attempt to Modernize and Art Education

Initiation of art lessons within the curriculum of the secondary schools is important for the development of contemporary art as it is in the case of modernization of the Turkish Cypriot society. It is believed that determining the share of the women art teachers alongside the artists for this evolution, plus writing their biographies would contribute to enlighten the social history of the Turkish Cypriot society.

The opening of the first girls' school in comparison with the world standard and even with the large provinces of the Ottoman Empire come rather late to Cyprus. The first primary school for the girls was opened in 1888 (Behcet, 1969, p. 65) while the secondary school called Victoria Inas Industrial School was opened in 1902. (Dedecay, 1985, pp. 10-11) The history of the art lessons in the secondary schools' curriculum is dating back to 1925s. Hitherto, in the case of Turkish woman art teachers, began in the early 1940s. The following names of early art teachers, encountered in the course of a research for the evolution of western art in the Turkish society in Cyprus, are cited without making any gender or nationality difference: Ahmet Rifat Efendi, (An, 2002, p. 413) Ahmet Burhanettin (Nesim, 1987, p.21; Feridun, c. 2000, p.21), Ismet Guney in Idadi School (later called Islam Lycee), Miss Serra (Nesim, 1987, p. 270), Seref Bey, Mrs. Maxwell, Mrs. Stone, Mrs. Hill, Mrs. Megaw and Mevhibe Sefik in Victoria Girls' School), (1) and Mr. Diamantis in Teachers' Training School established in 1937 (Feridun, c. 2000, p. 47).

Mevhibe Sefik was the first Turkish Cypriot art teacher in Victoria Girls' School. This was the only secondary school that gave the highest level of education to the Turkish girls in the island until 1950s. After that time, its curriculum was developed to include high school teaching as well. Mevhibe Sefik is, in fact, a graduate of this school and had no further academic education but had her special training by the English art teachers working temporarily in the school. She is the unforgettable teacher of many talented Turkish artists nowadays working in North Cyprus, and is well remembered as the first woman teacher to teach 'touch system' typing.

Our efforts to research the evolution of painting art as well as art lessons in the Turkish Cypriot Schools' curriculum resulted with little information published on the subject. However, personal talks with some artists as well as newspaper interviews revealed the name of Mevhibe Sefik as an art teacher, which led us to research the girls' secondary school education in the 1940s and 1950s. We could say that Mevhibe Sefik was the second art teacher working in the Turkish secondary schools; the first one being Burhanettin Efendi, the kadi teaching painting courses in Islam Lycee starting from 1926 (Behcet, 1969, p. 128) and who owes his painting activity to his father's military education in England. (Balikcioglu, 2000, p. 91) It was disappointing not to discover the names of both art teachers in Batmayan Egitim Guneslerimiz (Our Immortal Heroes of Education) published by Ali Nesim. However further research justified this missing information in the case of Mevhibe Sefik as the author was unaware of the fact that she was the first Turkish woman painter as that she was his colleague during his teaching years in Nicosia Turkish Girls' Lycee. Ali Nesim did not consider this teacher to belong to the old generation as she worked until her obligatory retirement age during the time he collected information for his book. Another reason for the lock of information about Mevhibe Sefik is also due to the neglect to consider art as an important lesson in the school's curriculum. Art courses were usually important for the preparation of annual sport and evening entertaintments that were held at the end of each school year. The art teachers were never acknowledged in the success of schools and their students. Although politicians are also making advantage of such occasions to deliver speech for their own publicity at least once in their missions they had never cited any of these occasions in their memoirs published in later life.

It is regrettable that there are no references to Mevhibe Sefik in recent publications except one interview in a daily newspaper, which has led us to write a short biography about her. This biography is compiled from personal interviews with her, from ones with some contemporary women artists, as well as a research from newspapers from 1945-1955. This research has enlightened us about her personality as an art teacher and also her contribution to the cultural acitivities of her time with her theatre stage decorations.

The Life Story of Mevhibe Sefik

Mevhibe Sefik was born in the so-called Nuri Efendi Street then in Nicosia on 9th April 1923. Her father, Huseyin Haci Mustafa was the son of a family renowned as Sekerciler (sugar makers) of Nicosia who were originally from one of the Arabic countries. He was a shoemaker. Her mother, Naciye was one of eight daughters of a family known as Barutcular (gunpowder makers) and she was a housewife. Mevhibe was the second daughter of the couple, who had three daughters. She describes the house in Mahmut Pasa Quarter of Nicosia so called even today as being large. Members of her mother's family, her uncles, aunts, their wives, husbands and children all lived together in several rooms of the house. Eventually each unit of this large family then left this house to establish their own private houses. Her uncle, Hasan Kemal, with an active social background was the most important member of the family to continue close relations with her parents, which also affected Mevhibe's life. (Kav, 1994 February, p. 20)

Mevhibe started her education when she was four years old in the kindergarten of Rahime Hanim. She then attended Ayasofya Girls' School for five years. Muhterem Hanim, (2) one of her teachers, instructed her in painting as she had noticed Mevhibe's talent in art, during her primary school years. Mevhibe Sefik then continued her education in Victoria Girls' School as a bursary student in 1933-34. The duration of the school was increased from five years to eight in the same year. She was transferred to the third year after her successful completion of the first year and then she graduated in 1939. (3) Although Victoria was classified as a secondary school, it was based on a college education. The curriculum of the school was changed in 1935, which resulted with 50 per cent of the courses being in English to enable the graduates to take English Ordinary and Distinction exams as requirements to become primary school teachers (Dedecay, 1985, p. 18). The headmistress of the school during her first year was Mevhibe Hikmet from Turkey. However with all the curriculum changes, English women teachers were then appointed as the directors, which lasted until 1952. Miss Bullen was the first of these English directors. After her death Miss Stone was appointed as the acting headmistress and then Miss Stapley worked as the headmistress for several years (Dedecay, 1985, p. 23).

Mevhibe Sefik was a successful student during her education. Besides her hard working characters, she was also an active student taking part in several extra curricular activities. She was a successful player in the volleyball team of her school and also took leading roles in theatre plays. She was a well mannered girl who had a close social life, particularly for the females in those days. Although she was a well-mannered, obedient student, she defended her rights for misbehaviour and unjust treatments. For example, she tells one teacher instructing embroidery making treating her students differently. She used to give each student a piece of cloth she had cut and they were expected to complete a pattern within one week, while scholar students were required to complete two pieces every week. In one case, she was quiet when one of the girls coming from a well off family did not perform her work, but she criticised the sewing of the edges of the completed embroidery made by Mevhibe. As Mevhibe tried to tell her that this was because of her cutting style, the instructor started shouting and she reacted with a hysterical crying. Another teacher upon hearing the shouting and crying came in and took her out of the class. She only stopped crying after a doctor came. She confessed in later years that her hysterical crying and shouting that panicked everybody in the school was in fact, an act to take her grudge against the instructor for her unjust treatment. (Kav, 1994 Subat, p. 20) This first piece of acting was the beginning of her success as a theatre player.

Mevhibe Sefik graduated from Victoria Girls' School in 1939-40 with a certificate of Teachers' Training Course. Mrs. Megaw, the English art teacher of the school, encouraged her to improve her painting ability by offering her and two other girls from her class training in painting and calligraphy. The rest of Mevhibe Sefik's life was shaped by this offer and she worked as a teacher for almost 43 years without any break in the same school. Mevhibe Sefik got married in 1951 and continued her life happily as a spouse and a mother. Mevhibe Sefik retired from her teaching career in 1983. The Association of Turkish Cypriot Women awarded her with the title of "The Teacher of the Year" on Mother's Day in 1984. (Nesim, 1987, p. 426) Many women art teachers currently acknowledge her as their first instructor in art and the person to encourage them to select art as their profession.

Mevhibe Sefik's Training as an Art Teacher

Mevhibe Sefik had her first instructions in art from Muhterem Hanim, her primary school teacher who noticed her talent in painting. Seref Bey, her first art teacher in Victoria Girls' School also encouraged her to improve her talent. He talked to her father about her skill in painting as hd Muhterem Hanim previously. Seref Bey, a teacher from Turkey, taught her only for one year. Although nothing much is left in Mevhibe Sefik's memory about him, a newspaper article refers to the arrival of Seref Beyas o well talented artist and calligrapher from Turkey in the first week of June 1932 who came to work in the Industry Hall of Haci Sadik Efendi (Soz, 1932 June, p. 2). Seref Bey, the painter, is also mentioned as taking part as the Master in the play called Coban (Shepherd) in January 1935, the first play that included female girl actresses (Ersoy, 1998, p. 37).

Mevhibe Sefik had different art teachers in her secondary school education. She recalls the names of Mrs. Maxwell, Mrs. Winder (Wonders?) and Mrs Megaw. Mrs. Megaw, played an important role in Mevhibe Sefik's life. She owes her career to her special attention and training as well as encouragement for her to become an art teacher. This highly spoken of woman art teacher is, in fact, Electra Megaw, the wife of A. H. Megaw, who was the director of the Department of Antiquities in the 1930s and 1940s. Elektra Megaw is an Albanian artist who usually painted botanical watercolour paintings (Severis, 2000, pp. 241, 243, 246: fig. 319). According to Mevhibe Sefik, she left the island during the First World War, but came back and exhibited in the Pancyprian Art Exhibition in 1947 (Severis, 2000, p. 241).

Mevhibe Sefik graduated from Victoria Girls' School in 1939-40 after completing the eight class in seven years. (4) However she had to wait for her future career for another year, but continued special training in art until she was appointed to a teaching position in Victoria in 1941.

Mevhibe Sefik's career started with the kind offer of Mrs. Megaw, who intended to train gthree girls in art so that one of them could take her place in the school while the other two could be appointed to the land registry office. Mrs. Megaw made this decision because she did not intend to stay at Victoria Girls' School for a long period. As Mevhibe Sefik remembers, Mrs. Megaw made her offer with a sincere confession that she did not find herself productive in a school where communication with the students due to language problems was difficult. In her offer to these three talented girls, she confessed that she did not know Turkish and the junior students could hardly follow her English. According to her suggestions, these girls would be instructed in art teaching as well as calligraphy in 'cut lettering' style. This calligraphy was a special writing technique, that made letters thicker as the lines were drawn downward. In those days, the land registry documents were written in this style of calligraphy. Mrs. Megaw's offer was followed with another proposal by Mrs. Stapley, the director of the school. Mevhibe was asked to consider the proposal of Mrs. Megaw and also to learn typing so that she could teach this subject as well. Mrs. Stapley even made another proposal to Mevhibe to work as a Turkish teacher as Mrs. Stapley had a good reference from her Turkish teacher who reported her Turkish was excellent. Therefore, she could be accepted as a teacher to the school if she would agree to teach Art, Typing as well as Turkish lessons. However, Mevhibe had some other choices. She also had the chance to take an official exam to be appointed as a primary school teacher. But since the primary school teachers were appointed to teach in villages in their first few years, it would have been hard work as she had to travel and stay away from her family which as a young girl she was not ready to do.

After a careful consideration of all the alternatives, Mevhibe and Sidika, her classmate started private courses with Mrs. Megaw. Mevhibe also taught the first and second-class students in the school. At the same time, she also started to take typing courses. She had the support of her uncle, Hasan Kemal, who was working in the state printing office and brought home a typewriter and also became her first typing instructor. Upon completion of a course in "touch system" typing, she sat for the Exams of London Chamber of Commerce where she achieved a certificate of typing. The typewriter then took an important part in her profession as a teacher for many years. Through her teaching she also instructed many girls who took secretarial work in later years.

At the end of the year Mrs. Megaw gave the two girls testimonials and recommended them to teaching positions in Victoria Girls' School and then left Cyprus at the beginning of the Second World War. Although Mevhibe Sefik had been successful in the exam in 1940 to take a teaching position at Victoria Girls' School, her official appointment was delayed for one year. Munur Bey, the Turkish member for the Board of Education did not approve her appointment with the excuse that she was too young. (5) However, she started her teaching career in 1941, one year after her graduation.

Her Teaching Career

Mevhibe Sefik was assigned to teach Art, Turkish, and Typing lessons during the 1941-42 school year. She was given an opportunity to apply for two scholarships to study art abroad in 1945. One of these was from the United Kingdom, while the other one was from Turkey. Upon the advice of Mrs. Megaw, she selected the scholarship from Turkey, since she was teaching in a Turkish school. Although she was successful in the selection for the scholarship in Turkey, the Turkish Consulate soon cancelled the whole scholarships upon the rumours about unjust selection. This cancellation upset her so much as she also missed the opportunity to apply for the scholarship from the United Kingdom.

Mevhibe Sefik worked for nearly 43 years in Victoria Girls' School. She worked with English headmistresses, mainly Miss Stapley, Mrs. Stone and Miss Clarke until 1952 in good relations. Although Art, Typing and Turkish courses were her main teaching topics at the beginning, she also thought Citizenship and Music lessons. She remembers taking her students to the law-courts for an observation as part of the lesson. When an urgent need to appoint a temporary music teacher arose, Miss Stapley assigned her as she had remembered the occasion of discovering Mevhibe's musical talent in singing. Once in a party Miss Stapley and Mevhibe sang together accompanied by the piano music of Jale Dervis, which their colleagues applauded.

Mevhibe Sefik instructed her talented students during the summer holidays in her house. She also travelled abroad to visit museums, art galleries and historical sites so as to improver her cultural background. She travelled to Turkey for the first time in 1946, a year after she failed to get the scholarship. Then she travelled to England at the beginning of 1950s, where she visited 19 painting exhibitions, several museums, and art galleries. She spent three days in the National Gallery, inspecting every single painting in the museum. She also repeated her travels abroad in the following years with her husband and daughter (Riza, 1954, p. 12).

Several publications reveal the difficulties encountered in the teaching life during the years under the British Colonial Rule. Every cultural activity was prepared under the most difficult conditions and strict rules in order not to offend the British Rulers. All teachers suffered so much to keep alive national feeling and Turkish culture and it was so insulting for all of them to start and terminate every occasion with the national anthem of the British Nation singing 'God Save the Queen or the King!' However as the relations got better, the Turkish community signed agreements with Turkey to get support for the Turkish education institutions and again the directors of Victoria Girls' School and Islam Lycee began to be appointed from Turkey. Several teachers were also sent from Turkey to the schools. Among the decisions taken was upgrading the level of Victoria Girls' School to a Lycee in 1952. It gave the opportunity for girls to continue high school after completing secondary education. It was also decided to accept the graduates of this school to the universities in Turkey (Behcet, 1969, pp. 137, 138; Dedecay, 1985, pp. 25, 58). Therefore. the name of the school was changed to Victoria Girls' Lycee and it was decided to follow the curriculum of Istanbul Girls' Lycee. Among the decisions taken were the importation of teachers from Turkey rather than appointing primary school teachers (Feridun, c.2000, p. 94). This decision enabled importation of teachers from Turkey, which was not allowed since 1941. Mevhibe Sefik remembers the name of Aliye Eminli, the art teacher, Halide Oner, the Turkish Literature teacher, as well as Semahat Ozlem, the headmistress joining the teaching staff of Victoria Girls' Lycee that year. These teachers were appointed on a contract basis and their salaries were to be paid by the Republic of Turkey. (Dedecay, 1985, p. 26)

In an effort to raise the standard of the school and provide the necessary teaching staff, the employment of teachers without a university diploma or higher education were cancelled in Victoria School. Upon the delivery of a bundle of letters from the Office of Education, the school administrators terminated the work of many teachers. Mevhibe Sefik was lucky to be given an opportunity to work on the basis of a two year contract until 1957. All these alterations made her lose some rights in her retirement calculations by the Social Security system. The Turkish schools gained better conditions after 1959, which unfortunately lasted only until 1963 when the beginning of political problems resulted in the collapse of Cyprus Republic that lasted only for three years. This followed a period full of poverty and agony but warmer relations for the Turkish society in Cyprus. With the closing of the boundaries and embargoes applied by the Greeks to the Turkish society, the art lessons were executed with only limited materials. But even then, exhibitions of students' works remained again as important cultural activities within the borders of the Turkish area in Nicosia and in other towns or villages that were impelled to live without contacts with the rest of the world until the 1970s for security reasons. Under these difficult conditions and a low salary until 1974, Mevhibe Sefik gave her service as a teacher for forty three years.

Mevhibe Sefik's Career as an Art Teacher

Mevhibe Sefik used to teach art lessons to all of the classes in Victoria Girls' School. She had a well-planned schedule for her Art lessons at each level. After a glance at the photographs of painting exhibitions provided by the author, it could be said that the junior classes practiced pencil drawing and designs while the upper levels were practicing thematic subjects, mainly landscapes, portraits or still life paintings with water and oil colour or mixed material techniques.

Mevhibe Sefik trained her students mainly in landscape painting and some of the lessons were outdoor practicals to enable them to work on the spot. The school courtyard and Ayia Sophia (Selimiye) Square were the most common places for these practices. In one case, she arranged a bus to take them to work in the Degirmenlik area. Each student was left on a certain spot to paint and Mevhibe Sefik rushed from one student to the other during the study. She was terrified when a sudden shower ended the day.

Mevhibe Sefik encouraged the creativity of the students by assigning them with different themes or topics. She never forgot one of her student's creativity as she made the portraits of an old man and a young horse for the theme of 'young and old'. She also recalled the paintings of a girl called Necla, one of her talented student who always made nude figures. She almost got in trouble with some higher authorities who did not like to see such paintings at a school's exhibition. Mevhibe Sefik then requested her student to cover the figures. However, the result was that the figures were merely covered with transparent clothes like ballet dancers.

Since Mevhibe Sefike did not have a proper class for her art lessons, she preferred the refectory of the school for her classes or those preparations for annual exhibitions and performances until 1968. However, an interview published by one of her students mentions her studio. Accordingly, Sonuc A. Riza had an appointment with Mevhibe Sefik for an interview. She was so excited when she climbed up the stairs of the building. After passing the study room of typing class, she came to the door of a painting studio. There were two low windows and all of the old tables were arranged at two sides of the walls. She did not hesitate to express her feelings with these words: "Isn't it really funny to call this tiny room a studio?" (Riza, 1954, p. 11). Victoria Girls' Lycee had a proper art class after 1968 by moving into its new modern building at Kyrenia Gate outside the walls in Nicosia.

Mevhibe Sefik decided to exhibit the selected works of the students in an annual exhibition from the first year of her teaching life. She took an active part in the organization of the traditional Victoria Day Celebrations officially held since 1924 (Behcet, 1969, p. 127) with her annual students' exhibition. These exhibitions, besides the other annual athletic sport shows and stage performances provided the students with extra--curricular studies. They also enriched the cultural life of the society by offering evening entertainment. The photographs of these exhibitions also show the evolution of art courses from embroideries and hancrafts to the contemporary art tradition in the western style.

The school exhibitions were held at different places in earlier years. The exhibition for 1947 was organized in the British Institute while in later years these were held in the Victoria Girls' Lycee. Although some units of the school buildings still exist today, part of this building has been replaced by Demak Business Center, a modern building, which was an arcaded building running along Muftu Ziyai Efendi Street. The exhibitions then were arranged in the hall of Nicosia Turkish Lycee (Boys' Lycee) after 1952, which was a first step to enable the encounter of boys and girls for mixed education that was achieved in later years. Mevhibe Sefik was always careful to make a plan for the exhibition and asked her students to make the size of their easel according to the space on the wall. Therefore, the size was usually determined by deciding the place to be hanged on the wall and then the easel was prepared accordingly and painted by the student.

The daily newspaper "Soz" published some news in June 1946 (1946 May, No: 2855, 2856) about the sport and cultural events of Victoria Girls' School taking place on the 24th May, which is Victoria Day.

One art critic who signed his article "Gallery Worm" described all of the paintings by citing the name of each student. The art critic referred to the exhibited works worth describing as they were excellent. As he went through the exhibition halls, he was surprised to see some really excellent art pieces. According to the author, there were several works among the exhibits that could easily be classified as masterpieces. He considered these as the products of a year's study that were noteworthy of appreciation and celebration as a great success. The critic started his visit to the first gallery where they had exhibited the embroideries. These were of high quality and recalled the continuity of the traditional Turkish art. The motifs, selection of colour of all these works, were in fact the product of a careful and patient work. The critic considered this act of young girls as a manner for paying respect and thanksgiving to their nation by continuining these highly respected and appreciated skillful traditional embroideries of the past culture.

The painting gallery was arranged into three separate rooms. The first one was the pencil colour paintings based on imagination. These were the paintings of the junior classes with less experience. Among these paintings the works of Nermin Mustafa and Lerzan Kazim were defined as noteworthy in view of their lines or expressions. All these he had studied one by one with joy and excitement for several minutes.

Among the water colour paintings, the critic observed, Jale Safa's "House and Its Door", Mualla Celalettin's "Child Portrait", Ferhan Ali's "Girl and Sailor', Zekiye Mustafa's "Cyprus', Ulvan Aziz's "Pasture and Flowers", Nezihe Rasim's "Lake", Perihan Tahsin's "Butterfly and its Flower", Saziye Mehmet's "Landscape" and Hale Safa's "Sun Rise Among the Fish Nets." He thought them to be excellent works in view of their colour or design techniques. There were many more that he could not cite although he claimed they were all attractive and beautiful.

The critic did not criticise negatively the paintings exhibited in the gallery of oil paintings. The colour of these paintings as compared to the other ones cited above gave a dull and melancholic impression. But in fact he learnt the reason he could understand the inevitable result was due to the lack of ready made oil paint on the market as it was war time and for this reason the paint material was prepared by the students through their own means. Under those conditions, it was impossible to give the required hue to the painting. Therefore, under these circumstances it should not be considered as an important fault.

The art critic remarked that the paintings of Suheyla Sakir called "Door", Suheyla Ahmed's "Cloud and the Tree", Altan Naci's "Sun Set Time" were considered as the most attractive ones in that group. He also added that Pervin Teoman's "Portrait" and "Sultan Han Near Kayseri" were the noteworthy masterpieces of the exhibition.

The art critic concluded by saying that the art talent of the young girls was rather high. He recommended that the headmistress and the teachers of Victoria Girls' School should find a means to take these exhibits of handcrafts and paintings of high quality to England and other countries by convincing the British Council for funding and necessary arrangements. He felt that they could find appreciation in those lands where there is a higher taste and understanding of art and aesthetics. The article ended by congratulating Mevhibe Sefik.

This article is the most detailed Turkish one ever published upto that time in a Turkish newspaper about any exhibition held in Cyprus. Although another article published in Hursoz (1947, 19 May p. 1) also mentioned the success of the young girls' and talent in plastic arts for the 1947 exhibition, this was in fact rather brief in view of the 1946 article (Soz, 1946 May, No: 271). This brief article emphasised, in particular, the success of the junior classes (Hursoz, 1947 May, 19, p. 1). In fact, both articles are the signs of the growing interest in painting art and cultural activities in those years.

Mevhibe Sefik remembers the names of most of her students. The names of several well-known artists, such as Inci Kansu, Ayhn Orek, and Goral Ozkan are frequently cited while she talks about her memoirs. These artists confirm these close relationship as they also refer to her as their instructor who directed them to select all and teaching as a profession in their life. For example Inci Kansu adores her and considers her as her main source of inspiration for her career.

Mevhibe Sefik and Theatre

Mevhibe Sefik also had a great passion for theatre. This interest in fact started with her taking part in a theatre play at seven years old. There were several theatre groups visiting Cyprus during the years 1930s and 1940s. In one of these occasions organized by her uncle and his friends, Bedia Muhavvit and her team was to perform a play in Kardes Ocagi However, they did not bring the child actor that appeared in the play, Mevhibe who was nearly six or seven years old was appointed to do this part.

Mevhibe Sefik took the leading roles in school plays. She also took part in the plays staged for different occasions during her early teaching years. But her part in these plays was as a soloist singer, since her voice was quite lovely. She sang two tangos in a play called "Kahraman (Hero)" and acted as Nedime in "Akin"; also she sang the songs, "Gulls" and "Ayse", in a play staged by the Victoria Alumni Theatre Group. She joined to the concert of Dar'ulelhan as a solo singer. The Turkish Consul, who was present in the concert, offered her a scholarship in the Ankara State Musical Conservatory with the condition that she then stayed in Turkey (Riza, 1954, p. 12).

Mevhibe Sefik took part in radio plays since 1950 on the Cyprus Radio Corporation. She worked in the program that was prepared and presented by Suphi Riza for several years. These programs were on Cyprus Radio until 1963 once a week for an hour and continued on Bayrak Radio for several years. One of the plays she took part was called, "Ankara Sakagi", which was played in the Cyprus Broadcasting Cooperation. Suphi Riza was the director and presenter of the play while Orhan Avkiran, Lutfi Hami, Fevziye Hulusi, Fitnat Zeynel, Mustafa Zeynel as well as Mevhibe Sefik were acting in the play (Balikcioglu, 2002, p. 76). This team continued to present radio plays for several years on Bayrak Radio. Mevhibe Sefik always acted as if she is really living the event. She described these days both with joy as well as a deep sadness as she recalls some close friends criticised her husband, Ali Sefik, and blamed him for not being jealous. However, this did not prevent her acting as her husband was always a considerate person. Mevhibe Sefik also remembered that sometimes Suphi Riza cried in hearing the sad stories when she was acting although he was the writer of some of the plays. (Kav, 1994 February, p. 21)

Her interest in theatre plays was not merely with her taking part in the plays. In fact, she is more interested with the stage designs for the plays, that allow her to express her artistic talents and skills. As she talked about her memories, she added these words: "I feel a great happiness to be a person to consider the importance of the visual appearance of the theatre stages and to perform plays with a rich visual setting." Showing a real setting in the plays was important to Mevhibe Sefik. In the annual school plays, she managed to create a real atmosphere by having a fountain with water running through the tap, a sailor in a moving boat, or a national folk dance staged with a beautiful setting and appropriate apparel.

If is disappointing not to find any reference to these stage decorations in the books about the theatre history of the Turkish Cypriot society published by Yasar Ersoy. In view of the difficulties encountered to prepare these stages in those days' economical conditions, this can be considered as a great neglect in attempting to research the past history of the theatre activities. Hitherto, the women artists, like Inci Kansu or Goral Ozkan all mention about these attractive stage decorations and the annual school performances in their conversations concerning the memories of their school years and Mevhibe Sefik. The first stage decorations were large-scale paintings designed on rather large coarse white calico, and hang from the top of the screen wall of the stage with ropes. These were painted according to the story of the play. Mevhibe Sefik had her first experience in a play staged in the Belig Pasa Theatre Hall in Nicosia. Upon her application to the headmistress, she could not get any financial support for the necessary material for the stage design, but she did not give up her intention to create a stage setting. Through her relatives and neighbours, she collected bed linen and bought the paint material personally. Then by joining all these bed linens, she painted a rather large scene with the help of her students. She always prepared these screen paintigs in cooperation with her colleague Servet Pertev, the music teacher. She recalls the preparation of seven different stage decorations for the play, "Bos Besik" (Empty Cradle). Ali Usta, a carpenter from the Asmaalti region of Nicosia, was her best helper to install the decorations on the stage. Although coarse calico was preferred in the early years, they had to replace these with paper in later years due to the expense. The painted papers were all joined together and fitted in a cloth frame that was hang to the stage with strings. By rolling these scenes upward, they could change the scene according to the acts of the play. After hanging these decorations, Mevhibe Sefik did not hesitate to climb up on a stool or a ladder for the final touches of paint.

One of Mevhibe Sefik's earliest experiences was "Little Fishers"which had a seascape scene as the stage background. There was also a half size model ship made of plywood and the sailors seated into this ship passed all along the stage. They prepared costumes with glittering tails for two girls acting as mermaid. An article published about the play recorded the success of it play as well as the stage decoration with the following words: "The action of the little fishers in the model ship passing through the stage by singing the fisher's song and moving their oars with perfect harmony were applauded by the audiences with great adornment and excitement. The stage was all set up in an elegant rich decoration."

The school performances staged different plays in one night according to the level of the classes. They lasted more than three hours usually. Through the article published in Hursoz we learnt the names of the plays staged during the performances of 1947. Besides the little Fishers, they staged Sukutu Hayal (Disappointment); Bas Taci (The Crown of the Head) Shakespeare's play called Hob and his Shepherds, and dances called the Spring. There was a particular appreciation for the decoration and performance manner for the "Spring" dances that reflected a high degree of art appreciation. At the end of the article the author congratulated the active gymnastic teacher Perihan Celal and art teacher Mevhibe Huseyin, for their successful preparations of all the plays and dances performed for three and half hours, which was quite long but enjoyable (Hursoz 1947 March No: 202).

Mevhibe Sefik also remembers the successful decoration prepared for the play called Acem Carsisi (Acem Market) put on stage with Jale Dervis, the music teacher. Some of the costumes used in the performances were also prepared at the school by Mevhibe Sefik and her students. The dancing skirts were usually made of gryphons paper and their shoes were made by cutting cardboard sole according to the size of the children's feet and sewing cloth of matching colour on the top of these.

Inci Kansu described these stage designs as the introduction of the western style landscape paintings to the public, which were the initiation to develop an art taste in western manner within the society. Mevhibe Sefik could not remember how she started to consider the preparation of these stage decorations. This may be based on her childhood memories. Some professional theatre groups coming from Turkey or some local ones may in fact use this also. A picture, published by Yasar Ersoy shows the stage and group for the play called "Cifte Keramet (Happy Wonders) rehearsed in Kardes Ocagi in 1927 had a large landscape stage decoration. (Ersoy, 1998, p. 41) This may have been one of the inspirations for Mevhibe Sefik if she had ever had the opportunity to see this in that year while she was only 4 years old.

Although an article with the signature of Lutfi Ekenoglu published in Yeni Mecmua in 1945 (An, 1999, p. 95) critised the stage setting as arranged just by putting pieces of furniture in the middle of the stage with no sense of aesthetic design, this criticism is in fact for the theatre plays acted by other groups usually consisting of adults. An article published in Soz newspaper about the annual performances of Turkish Boys' Lycee with the title, "This is a Real Performance" signed as 'Backstage Worm' described the performances and the actors of the plays as praiseworthy; while with the case of the stage decoration it is remarked to have been nice and simple as could be expected from the limited facilities and means of the school. However, we could feel the difference betwen the stage decorations mentioned above with the stage decoration of the "Sprint' dances prepared by Mevhibe Sefik as described by the art critic to have been the result of fine taste of in art. Therefore, these stage decorations designed for the performances of Victoria Girls' School, as described by Mevhibe Sefik as well as her students and colleagues are more successful than any other stage decoration of the theatre plays performed in those years. This is the consequence of a talented woman whose character reflected a genuine taste for art, which is combined with sensitivity and aesthetic values. Mevhibe Sefik managed to prepare these until the 1970s. Goral Ozkan and Yalkin Muhtaroglu as the second and third painting teachers of Victoria Girls' Lycee, her former students joined her adventure after 1955s for the preparation of these stages. Both teachers shared the work until Mevhibe Sefik's retirement.

These decorations have been studied through the photographs provided by Mevhibe Sefik. They appear to be carefully designed as compared with the decorations of the professional theatres of its contemporaries. It is a pity not to be able to see any original of these stage decorations today, since the concept of archiving such materials was never thought of in the past or even today. The only source for them is the photographs and description by Mevhibe Sefik and some of the artists. It is regretful not to have any of these decorations, as we believe that they could be displayed as the early examples of the theatre stage decorations in a theatre museum to be opened in the future. They could also comprise the early examples of large-scale landscape paintings for those years.

Mevhibe Sefik always prepared these stage decorations together with her students. Some of these students who always assisted her are the well-known women who manage to held important positions in their careers. Some of the names she always cited are Inci Kansu, Goral Ozkan, Ayse Cosar, Bahire Inan. These decorations were prepared in Mevhibe Sefik's house, in a narrow space at the front side of her home. They boiled glue on steam heater, then mixed the powder paint into this hot glue, and applied the pigment on large size paper pieces. These paint materials were purchased from some shops in the Greek side of Nicosia. Later, a Turkish shop, called Aksoy, became their provider. They also used gilds sparingly on these decorations to give a more glittering effect on the stage. She remarked that gild paint was important for her work as it was also used in the inscription of the graduation diplomas, which were also written by herself during her teaching years.

These preparations inspired her students in their Further careers. Inci Kansu improved her art of papermaking and painting techniques. By using different means such as her food processor, pressure cooker to prepare different textured paper with different kinds of paper, cellulose, cloth pieces, fruits and vegetables. Such experiences in the past gave her much inspiration and taught her to work neatly and patiently in all these attempts to improve her art. Ayse Cosar, who studied chemistry and was the director of the State Chemistry Laboratories for several years, most probably had inspirations from these experiences as well.

Goral Ozkan also refers to these preparations made for the annual evening entertainments at Mevhibe Sefik's house every year regularly in the spring semester. She considers these as great experiences that inspired and directed all of them in their careers. Ozkan also considers herself and her friends as Mevhibe Sefik's 'apprentices'. Apparently Mevhibe Sefik's extensive experience, knowledge, bright ideas, friendly and warm conversation, and affectionate manners affected their whole future career.

What Remained from Mevhibe Sefik's Teaching Career?

Mevhibe Sefik always preferred to exert her efforts to instruct her students although she had a great skill and talent in painting. She defines almost everything as art and says that "making a fine conversation or writing a text with fine calligraphy is art. On the other hand, bringing the nature into your room through the brush and colours as well as writing a text with a typewriter in 'touch system' technique may also be considered as art." With this understanding Mevhibe Sefik dedicated herself to her school, art, and students. She was the insctuctor of thousands of students during her teaching career. Although she had never exhibited her own works in any exhibitions, she was quite happy with those large-scale paintings she had prepared for the theatre stage. Mevhibe Sefik is now very proud to be the teacher of many art teachers or painters, like Sema Zihni (deceased), Yalkin Muhtaroglu, Goral Ozkan, Aylin Orek, Gulten Can, Selma Yusuf (deceased), (6) Ayten Erduran (deceased) and Guner Erol. It is surprising not to find any trace of her paintings today although Mevhibe Sefik spent her leisure time painting in her small studio at the school as was recorded by Sonuc A. Riza in an interview published in Utku in 1954 with the following words: "She was standing in front of an easel in her partly stained white shirt : I stopped at the door and watched her quietly as she was once gazing at the painting, then moving her brush on the easel to create elegant lines and colour skilfully. (Riza, 1954, p. 11)

Although in all of her activities Mevhibe Sefik seemed to develop a great passion for art, she never considered exhibiting her own works in any exhibitions. There were several reasons that could be considered here. There were no other Turkish woman dealing with art in those early days in 1940s or 1950s. There was no possibility to try to step on a platform where only a few male artists managed to establish their soveignity. The lack of galleries to open exhibitions was another problem, which did not create a competitive environment in those days. It is a known fact that almost all artist start their careers as art teachers. Most artists will manage to create their most important studies after retiring from their official work. Mevhibe Sefik is not that much lucky as she only managed to get her retirement in 1983 after a teaching life that lasted nearly 43 years. Although she enjoyed her career, the social security system and retirement years were not arranged according to the modern system. The shifting of government from British to Cyprus Republic and then to Cyprus Turkish Society until 1974 caused several problems in the calculation of her working years. Low economic income for all members of the Turkish society was another factor preventing her considering retirement. Another reason is that she started her family responsibility late as she got married in her 30s when British Rule changed the policy not to terminate the work of married woman teachers, which was an act applied in Victorian England and later times particularly during the Second World War (Perkin, 1993, 201). Her daughter's education in Turkey was another reason that led her to continue her teaching career until 1983. In addition, earning a life through painting was not an acceptable way of living in those days. This was almost a luxury since there was no art market to patronize the artists. Although she always encouraged all her women collegues, who were her former students, to join the Turkish Artists Exhibitions, she personally never joined these exhibitions. This is a rather humble act and a behaviour of respect for all her students who managed to get on academic education. She always preferred to remain at the backstage as an instructor and an amateur painter for all her life.

Mevhibe Sefik currently lives with the family of her daughter and ger family. She still keeps two large oil paintings referring to them as the paintings of her two daughters. In fact these are the paintings of her two talented students. One of these is the portrait of Mevhibe Sefik with her daughter in her lap painted by Silay Ahmet and the other one is the portrait of Naciye, her daughter signed as Inci Yilmaz. Both portraits show the talents of the girls prior to academic education, Inci Yilmaz Kansu is the well known paper artist while Silay Ahmet studied phsysics for her career.

The black typing machine displayed in the hall of her house is one of the souvenirs of her past teaching years. The stage screen paintings are the only remembrances for these plays that can only be viewed in her personal albums. Also they are in the memories of some people. Contemporary modern cities are proud to have at least one theatre museum to commemorate its past history of entertainment life. However, it is upsetting not to find such museums like contemporary art museum or theatre museum in this country. Another sad thing is the lack of consciousness for the necessity to keep archives of important events, which are necessary for the writing of the political, social, or cultural history of the past. It is believed that the photographs and memoirs may also contribute to the understanding of the past.

Mevhibe Sefik is sometimes upset that her name has been omitted or not mentioned by some artists in their exhibition brochures or interviews as they name their university instructors only. However, some of the artists, particularly those who are keen about education always mention about her with deep respect and loyalty. They consider her as their inspiration for selecting their careers and the source of their love for art. Inci Kansu is the most faithful one to express her adoration and acknowlegements. She always mentions about Mevhibe Sefik's physical beauty, her scarlet hair, perfect anatomy, smart apparel and perfect Turkish accent and above all these characteristics, she is grateful to her instructions and encouragement to improve her skill towards creativitivy and original designs in her art career. Inci Kansu expressed these feelings in a poem written as a thanks giving to Mevhibe Sefik for the occasion of her retirement. In this poem she expressed her adoration in a simple manner and also mentioned her skillful hands designing elegant lines and figures and creating an image of the nature with rather attractive colours like a magician. She also remembers the stage decoration preparations which enabled them to combine their individual creativitiy with others to compose a group working in harmony.

One of her students, who followed her footsteps in her career as an art teacher, is Gulten Can. She is known as an artist as well as the owner of a large art studio called Portfolio Art School that opened in 1985. This is the only private school serving adults in every branch of plastic arts such as painting, ceramics, paper marbling, stain glass making, copper engraving, embroideries, flower making, textile painting, according to the skill and preference of the participants. Although there is no gender restriction, it is usually attended by young girls and mainly retired women or housewives. The school has arranged annual exhibitions to display their work. Gulten Can is a graduate of Victoria Girls' Lycee and Ankara Girls' Technical School. Although she did not hesitate to tell rather proudly about her graduation position with the highest mark in her class in an interview published by Taylan Kav in Kibris newspaper, (Kav, 1995 October, p. 33) she remarked that she owes her whole success and career to her secondary school teacher, Mevhibe Sefik. She made the decision to establish an art studio with the inspiration she gained from her beloved teacher. Through these painting lessons she became addicted to the smell of paintings. She wonders what occupation she might have selected if she did not have Mevhibe Sefik as her painting teacher in those early days.

Goksel Sarica Ozdil, an amateur painter also remarked about Mevhibe Sefik as a talented and a very good teacher who gave her and other students the first taste and passion for art. Goral Ozkan talks about Mevhibe Sefik, as first art teacher, with great love and respect. She also described her teaching and instruction ability to be the initiator of the first gleanings of a passion for art she always had in her life. With this love she selected art teaching as a career. She worked in the same school after she completed her higher education in Turkey. The high school education enabled her with theoretical knowledge but later, in her teaching years as they worked together, she had always relied upon Mevhibe Sefik's knowledge as her practical experience was so extensive. Mevhibe Sefik also became her closest friend during the years they worked together. Goral Ozkan described her relation with Mevhibe Sefik as remaining her student at each stage of her life and she considered this fact as the great chance of her life. She confessed that the art lesson hours with Mevhibe Sefik during her secondary school years had always remained as the happiest memories of her school life.

Mevhibe Sefik retired from teaching after serving for forty two years and seven months. During a ceremony organised by Sermin Kotak, the headmistress of 20 Temmuz Lisesi and teachers, a play was put on stage by her graduate students of different ages like Latife Birgen and Ayhatun Atesin. Inci Kansu presented her with a poem entitled, "My Teacher.' She considered these as the greatest gifts from her teaching career.

Mevhibe Sefik briefly explains her passion about painting and her career with these words:
 Can you see this brursh? Well, I am in love with this. All the
 beauties of the nature is hidden in the feathers of this brush! It
 leads me into the deep blue hues of the sea! It takes me up to the
 top of a mountain, to the flowing water of a spring. It makes me
 remember the grief of an archway, or remind the forgotton broken
 pottery. Also it is this unique brush which made me laugh or cry
 all the time.


In the writing trend of the cultural history of Cyprus, first half of 20th century needs more attention and detailed research since it is the initiation for the Turkish society to express its own ideas and feelings and the beginning of opening its gates to the outer world. The educators of this period struggled to protect the Turkish identity in the education system despite an enviroment of difficulties encountered under the British Colonial Rule, which lead a depressed regime revealed under its modern appearance. These teachers followed and taught their students the improvements implemented by the newly established Turkish Republic and the reforms laid by Ataturk, although they could not express implicitly the feelings of loyalty to Turkey.

All the developments within the years 1925-1960 by the Turkish Society in Cyprus were achieved through the efforts of teachers, who worked with enthusiam and self-denying efforts. They managed to bring the knowledge they gathered from their limited sources to a new synthesis; and consequently, they encouraged their students to get further education according to their talents and abilities which resulted with more methodological studies in the schools and specialised occupations in the society by the 1960s. Mevhibe Sefik is one of these early teachers. Although she did not take part as one of the immortal heroes of education in Ali Nesim's book, she deserves this title as the first Turkish Cypriot woman art teacher. This article is prepared to add a contribution to the history of education of Cyprus written up-to-date with the belief that Mevhibe Sefik's efforts and services in the art education of Cyprus must take its position and make her name live forever in the written history.


(1) This information is given by Mevhibe Sefik.

(2) Ayse Mustafa Katipoglu also mentioned about Muhterem Hanim working as a teacher in Ayasofya Girls' School in Ali Nesim (1987, p. 404).

(3) This School was established in 1901-1902 academic year and was called as Victoria Islam Inas Sanayi Mektebi (Victoria Islam Girls' Industry School) or Rustiyesi (Secondary School) and changed its name several times in later years. These names are as follows: Victoria Girls' School (1920-26), Victoria Girls' Lycee (1926-1935), Victoria Girls' School (1935-1951); Victoria Secondary Girls' School (1951-1952), Victoria Turkish Girls' Lycee (1953-1958), Nicosia Turkish Girls' Lycee (1961-1979), 20 July Lycee (1979-). (Dedecay, 1985. p. 20).

(4) Victoria Girls' School was upgraded to a Lycee (high school) in 1952. (Dedecay 1985. p. 25). This was made after a decison taken on 15 September 1952 and accordingly it was decided to follow a lycee curriculum after the completion of a three years secondary school program. (Behcet, 1969, p. 137). According to this information provided by Mevhibe Sefik, we could see the attempts to upgrade the curriculum by increasing the years of education although it was not classified as a Lycee in 1940s.

(5) There were discussions by the Turkish Education Commission during the years 1937 to 1943 to appoint elder retired teachers to the primary schools instead of young unexperienced lycee graduates. According to the decisions of the Director of the Education Office, all graduates of the Teachers' Training School were already employed and the new Lycee graduates would be employed only with the condition of passing the English Distinction Exam successfully. Also, another decision taken during the same years was concerning the appointment of primary school teachers. Accordingly young teachers would be employed at Ayasofya Girls' Primary School only if they could complete a two year course after their graduation from the Victoria Girls' School. (Behcet, 1969. pp. 99-100). Although the reports published by Hasan Behcet are missing for the years 1931-1950 it can be assumed that similar conditions were applied for the employment of new teachers in Victoria Girls' School.

(6) Selma Yusuf Saygin lived in Ankara and published her poems and paintings in a book before she died.


An, Ahmet (1999). Kibris Turk Kulturu Uzerine Yazilar, Lefkosa: Kivilcim Yayinlari No: 5.

An, Ahmet (2002). Kibris'in Yetistirdigi Degerler, Lefkosa: AkCag Yayinlari.

Balikcioglu, Osman (2002). Bizim Insanimiz Bizim Lefkosamiz, Toplum Yayinlari.

Behcet, Hasan (1969). Kibris Turk Maarif Tarihi (1571-1968, Lefkosa- Kibris.

Dedecay, Servet Sami (1985). Viktorya Islam Inas Sanayi Mektebi ve Kibrisli Turk Kadininin Haklari (1902-1985), Magosa, Lefkosa Ozel Turk Universitesi Yayinlari: 3.

Ersoy, Yasar (1998). Kibris Turk Tiyatro Hareketi, Lefkosa: Peyak Kultur Yayinlari: 1.

Feridun, Husnu (c. 2000). Egitimle Bir Omur, Istanbul: Bogazici Yayinlari, (not dated but it can be assumed that this was published in 2000).

Hursoz (1947 May). No: 267, p. 24.

Hursoz (1947 March). No: 202, 14 March Thursday.

Hursoz (1947 May). No: 271, 29 May, p. 1.

Kav, Taylan (1994 February). Mevhibe Sefik, Kibris, 9 February 1994, pp. 20-21.

Kav, Taylan (1995 October). Gulten Can, Kibris, Wednesday, 18 October 1995, pp. 32-33.

Nesim, Ali (1987). Batmayan Egitim Guneslerimiz, Lefkosa: KKTC Milli Egitim Egitim ve Kultur Bakanligi Yayinlari.

Perkin, Joan (1993). Victorian Women, London: John Murray.

Riza, Sonuc, A. (1954). Okulumuzdan Yetisenler, Utku, Mayis 1954, Yil: 6, No: 13, pp. 11-12.

Severis, Rita C. (2000) Travelling Artists in Cyprus 1700-1960, London: Philip Wilson Publishers.

Soz (1932 Haziran). 9 Haziran p. 2.

Soz (1946 Mayis). Sene 28, Sayi: 2855, 2856.

Netice Yildiz, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Netice Yildiz, Art Historian, Faculty of Architecture, Eastern Mediterranean University. e-mail:

Bir Portre: Mevhibe Sefik ilk Kibrisli Turk Kadin Resim Ogretmeni (1923-)


Kibris Turk toplumunun cagdas duzeye gelmesinde kadinin meslek hayatindaki basarisi onemli bir yer tutar. Egitim alanindaki ilerlemelerde, cagdaslasma sureci icinde ozellikle dusuk ekonomik sartlar altinda ve ozgurlugu elinden alinmis bir toplumun zorlu gunlerinde ilk kadin ogretmenlerin katkilari onemlidir. Kadinlarin da universite egitimini alabilmesi, ihtisaslasmaya dogru yonelebilmesi icin hazir bir altyapi gereklidir. Bu alt yapilarin olmadigi donemlerde, Ingiliz mustemlekesi olan Kibris'ta kisitli olanaklar cercevesinde, cevresindeki egitmenlerden aldigini kendi gayretleri ile gelistirerek, gece gunduz calisarak yetisen ilk Kibrisli Turk kadin resim ogretmeninin portresini cizmeye calistik. Ilk kadin resim ogretmenini belirleme amaciyla yola ciktigimizda Mevhibe Sefik'in ilk kadin daktilo ogretmeni ve yine ilk sahne tasarimcisi sayilabilecek kadin oldugunu da tespit ettik. Bu yazida Mevhibe Sefik'in yasam oykusu ve mesleki yonu ele alinmis, o gunun egitim sartlari icinde irdelenerek portresi cizilmeye calisilmistir.

Anahtar Kelimeler: Mevhibe Sevik, Kibris, Turk kadini, resim ogretmeni, sanatci, tiyatro, orta egitim, kiz okullari.


Cagdaslasma Gayreti Icinde Bir Toplum ve Sanat Egitimi

Kibris Turk halkinin egitim sistemi icinde resim derslerinin yer almasi cagdas sanatin olusumu yaninda, toplumun cagdaslasmasi surecinde onemli bir atilim sayilmaktadir. Ozellikle bu surecte sanatcilar yaninda ogretmenlerin de bu gelisim cizgisindeki katkilarinin belirlenmesi, biyografilerinin yazilmasi Kibris Turklerinin gecmis toplumsal tarihlerine onemli bir katki olacaktir.

Kibris Turk toplumunda kiz okullarinin acilmasi dunya geneline ve hatta Osmanli Imparatorlugu'nun buyuk kentlerine gore oldukca gec tarihlerde baslar. Kibris'ta ilk Turk kiz ilkokulu 1888'de (Behcet, 1969, s.65), ortaokul seviyesindeki Viktorya Islam Inas Sanayi Mektebi ise 1902'de (Dedecay, 1985, s. 10-11) kurulur. Resim derslerinin gecmisi ise 1925 yilina kadar inebilir. Ilk Kibrisli Turk kadin resim ogretmenini ancak 1940'li yillarin baslarinda gormek mumkun olabilmistir. Bu arayis icinde kadin erkek ayirimi yapmadan ilk resim ogretmenlerinin isimleri soyle siralanabilir: Idadi Okulunda (sonralari Islam Lisesi) Ahmet Rifat Efendi (An, 2002, s. 413), Kadi Burhanettin (Nesim, 1987, s. 21; Feridun, c. 2000, s. 21) Ismet Guney; Viktorya Kiz Okulunda Miss Serra (Nesim, 1987, s. 270), Seref Bey, Mrs. Maxwell, Mrs. Stone, Mrs. Hill, Mrs. Megaw, (1) Mevhibe Sefik; 1937'de kurulan Ogretmen Okulunda ise Mr. Diamantis (Feridun, c. 2000, s. 47).

Yazimizin konusu olan Mevhibe Sefik o yillarda Kibrisli Turk kiz ogrencilere en yuksek egitim veren Viktorya Kiz Mektebinin ilk Kibrisli Turk kadin resim ogretmenidir. Mevhibe Sefik bu okulun o yillarda genellikle Ingiliz olan resim ogretmenleri tarafindan ozel olarak yetistirilmis ve daha sonra da ayni okulda ilk resim ogretmeni olarak uzun yillar emek vererek cok sayida Kibrisli Turk kadinina plastik sanatlari sevdirmistir. Gunumuz kadin ressamlarinin cogu ilk sanat egitimlerini ondan almislardir. Mevhibe Sefik, ayrica bugun bilgisayarlarin yayginlasmasi ile artik tarihe karismaya yuz tutan 'touch system' daktilo yazma egitimini veren ilk ogretmendir.

Kibris'ta resim sanati ve resim egitimi konusunda yaptigimiz bir calisma sirasinda, ozellikle bazi kadin ressamlarin gazete soylesilerinde ya da kendileriyle yaptigimiz kisisel soylesilerimizde rastladigimiz Mevhibe Sefik ismi, Kibris'ta ilk Turk kadin resim ogretmeni olabilecegi dusuncesi ile hemen ilgimizi cekmistir. Konu uzerinde bilgi bulabiliriz dusuncesi ile Ali Nesim'in yazdigi Batmayan Egitim Guneslerimiz adli kitaba basvurdugumuzda ne yazik ki hayal kirikligina ugradik. Ilkleri sunmasi beklenen bu kitapta sadece Mevhibe Sefik'in degil erkek ogrencilerin okudugu Islam Lisesinin ilk resim ogretmeni Ahmet Burhanettin'in (Behcet, 1969, s. 128) de unutulmus olmasi uzucudur. 1926 yilinda Islam Lisesinde baslayan resim derslerine, kadilik gorevi yaninda gelen Ahmet Burhanettin'in resme yetenekli oldugu ve resim bilgisinin babasinin Ingiltere'deki askeri egitimine dayandigi sanilmaktadir (Balikcioglu, 2000, s. 91). Ancak bu, gec yaslarina kadar ogretmenlik yapan Mevhibe Sefik'in Ali Nesim ile mesai arkadasi oldugu ve bu sebeple de eski ogretmenler sinifina konmamis oldugu seklinde iyimserce yorumlanabilir. Bunun diger bir nedeni ise resim derslerinin durumuyla ilgilidir. Resim dersi mufredatlarda yer almasina karsin genellikle onemsenmeyen bir ders olmus, sadece yil sonu musamerelerinde duzenlenen kulturel etkinlikler icinde onem kazanmistir. Ayni sekilde resim ogretmenligi de diger ders ogretmenlikleri yaninda ihmal edilmektedir. Hatta politikacilarin sergi acilislarini sadece politik gosteri amaci ile degerlendirmeleri, ama ileriki yillarda yayimladiklari anilarinda bunlara hic yer vermemeleri de burada eklenebilecek diger nedenlerdendir.

Mevhibe Sefik ile ilgili son yillarda yayimlanmis bir gazete soylesisi disinda bir seyin bulunmamasi bizi uzmus ve bu konuda kisa da olsa bir biyografi yazilmasini dusundurmustur. Arastirmamiz kendisi ile gorusmenin yani sira, baska sanatcilar ve 1945-55 yillari arasinda yayimlanan kisitli sayidaki gazetelerde yer alan haberlerden toplanan kaynaklara dayandirilmistir. Bu arastirma sonucunda Mevhibe Sefik'in resim ogretmenliginin yani sira bugun, ozellikle tiyatro duzenlenmesinde kurdugu sahneler ile ilk sahne tasarimcilarindan biri olarak anilmasi gerektigi dusuncesine vardik.

Mevhibe Sefik'in Yasam Oykusu

Mevhibe Sefik (o yillarda Mevhibe Huseyin) Lefkosa'da 1923 yilinin 9 Nisaninda o zamanki ismi ile Nuri Efendi Sokakta dunyaya gelir. Babasi Huseyin Husnu Haci Mustafa, Arap ulkelerinden gelerek Lefkosa'ya yerlesen ve Sekerciler diye taninan bir ailenin ogludur. Haci Mustafa, gercekte bir ayakkabi ustasidir. Annesi Naciye ise, Kucuk Barutcular diye anilan bir ailenin sekiz cocugundan biri olup ev hanimidir. Mevhibe, bu ciftin dunyaya getirdigi uc kizdan ortancasidir. Dogdugu ev, bugun de ayni adla anilan Mahmut Papa Mahallesi'nde cok buyuk bir ev imis. Teyzeler, dayilar, yengeler, hep bu buyuk evin odalarini paylasarak yasiyorlarmis. Daha sonra bu beraberlik dagilir. Ancak ozellikle sosyal biri olan dayisi Hasan Kemal'in hem ailenin hem de Mevhibe Sefik yasaminda onemli bit rolu olmustur (Kav, 1994 Subat, s. 20).

4 yasinda Rahime Hanimin idaresindeki anaokuluna baslayan Mevhibe, daha sonra 5 yillik Ayasofya Ilkokuluna devam eder. Burada resme ve sanata olan ilgisini fark eden Muhterem Hanim (2) ismindeki ogretmeni ona resim yapma konusunda ilk bilgileri verir.

Mevhibe Sefik 1933-34 ders doneminde Viktorya Kiz Mektebine (Islam Kiz Mektebi) sinavla burslu ogrenci olarak baslar. Bes yil olan okul o yil birden 8 yillik bit egitime cikarilir. Ancak birinci sinifta basarili olanlar bir sinif uste atlatilir ve buradan 1939 yilinda mezun olur. (3) Bu donemde Viktorya, ortaokul seviyesinde sayilsa da bir kolej egitimi vermektedir. 1935 yilindan itibaren ders programlarinin yarisi Ingilizce olarak okutulmaya baslanmis, ilkokullara ogretmen yetistirmek amaciyla gerekli olan Ingilizce Ordinary ve Distinction sinavlarina hazirlik yonunde bir egitim verilmistir (Dedecay, 1985, s. 18). Mevhibe'nin egitimi sirasinda okul mudiresi ilk yil Mevhibe Hikmet adinda Turkiyeli bir kadindir. Fakat daha sonra 1952'ye kadar hep Ingiliz kadin mudireler olmustur. Okudugu yillarda Miss Bullen mudire olarak gorev yapmaktadir. 1939 yilinda Miss Bullen vefat edince kisa bir sure Miss Stone mudire vekilligi yapmis, daha sonra Miss Stapley mudirelik gorevini ustlenmistir (Dedecay, 1985, s. 23).

Mevhibe Sefik, Viktorya Kiz Mektebi'nde basarili bir ogrenci olmustur. Dersleri yaninda okulun spor faaliyetlerine de katilmis ve voleybol takiminda oynamistir. O yillarda hala ice kapali bir ortam olan Lefkosa'da yetisen Mevhibe, agir basli bir cocuk olarak buyur. Ancak hassas oldugu kadar haklarini arayan bir cocuk olarak zaman zaman ogretmenlerin tanidik cocuklarina iltimas gecmesine icerlemis, bu da onun ileriki meslek yasaminda ogrencilerine sevecen ve anlayisli olmasini saglamistir. Anilari arasinda bir olay onun bu kisiligini yansitmaktadir. Mevhibe Sefik, nakis (isleme) dersi ogretmeninden dolayi unutamadigi bir olay yasar. Ogretmen, her hafta ogrencilere kendi bictigi bir kumas uzerinde desen calismasi verir, bunu bir hafta icinde yapmalarini beklerdi. Mevhibe ve diger burslu ogrencilere ise iki parca verirdi. Zengin kizlarindan biri isini bitiremedigi durumlarda ogretmen pek ses cikarmaz, isini yapanlara ise kusur bulurmus. Bir defasinda Mevhibe islemesini bitirir ve dikerek getirir. Ogretmeni isini yapmayan ogrenciye yine iltimas gecip, onu da "Ne bicim nakis?' diye elestirince Mevhibe bu haksizliga dayanamaz. "Nasil bicilirse oyle dikilir." cevabini verir. Bunun uzerine ogretmeni bagirip cagirmaya, o da kendini yere atip aglamaya baslar. Derken gurultuyu duyan bir baska ogretmen onu siniftan alarak ogretmenler odasina goturur. Mevhibe ancak doktor cagrilarak guclukle yatistirilir. Mevhibe Sefik, sonraki yillarda, herkesi telasa dusuren bu aglamalarin ogretmenden intikam alabilmek icin yapilmis muzipce bir rol oldugu anlatir (Kav, 1994 Subat, s. 20). Aslinda bu durum onun daha sonra kazanacagi tiyatro oyunculugundaki basarisinin baslangicidir.

Mevhibe Sefik, Miss Stapley'nin okul mudireligi donemi olan 1939-40 yilinda Viktorya Muallimler Tedris Kursu Sahadetnamesi ile mezun olur. Resim ogretmeni Mrs. Megaw sanat yeteneginin degerlendirilmesi gerektigi dusuncesi ile ona ve baska iki arkadasina resim ve guzel yazi tekniklerini ogretme ve onlari ogretmen olarak hazirlama amaci ile ozel bir kurs teklif eder. Mevhibe Sefik'in sonraki yasami bu teklif cercevesinde gelisecek ve kirk iki yil yedi ay suren uzun bir ogretmenlik yasami olacaktir. 1951 yilinda o evlenerek yasamina iyi bir es, iyi bir anne olma boyutunu da ilave etmistir. Kibris Turk Kadinlar Konseyi tarafindan 1984 yili anneler gununde 'Yilin Ogretmeni' secilen Mevhibe Sefik (Nesim, 1987, s. 426), bugun cok sayida resim ogretmeni ve sanatci tarafindan da saygi ve sevgi ile anilmaktadir.

Mevhibe Sefik'in Resim Egitimi

Mevhibe Sefik, ilkokul egitimi aldigi yillarda ogretmeni Muhterem Hanim ondaki resim yetenegini fark etmis ve bu konuda ozel ilgi gostermistir. Viktorya Kiz Okulunda ilk yil kendilerine resim dersi veren ogretmeni Seref Bey de ilkokul ogretmeni Muhterem Hanim gibi onun yetenegini hemen kesfetmis ve bunu babasina iletmistir. Turkiyeli olan Seref Bey bu okulda sadece bir yil calistigindan Mevhibe Sefik'in belleginde onun hakkinda pek fazla bir sey kalmamistir. Yaptigimiz arastirmada Seref Bey'in 1932 yili Haziraninin ilk haflasinda Kibris'ta calismak uzere Turkiye'den geldigini ogrendik. 9 Haziran 1932 tarihli "Soz" gazetesinde cikan cok kisa bir habere gore Seref Bey isminde Turkiyeli mahir bir ressam ve iyi bir tabelacinin Lefkosa'ya gelmis oldugu ve Sanayi salonu sahibi Haci Sadik Efendi ile birlikte calismaya basladigi belirtilmektedir (Soz, 1932 Haziran, s. 2). Seref Bey, Ocak 1935'te ilk kez iki kiz oyuncunun rol aldigi Coban adli tiyatro oyununda Bey roluyle sahneye cikmistir (Ersoy, 1998, s. 37).

Mevhibe Sefik, Seref Beyden sonra Mrs. Maxwell, Mrs Winders (Wonders?) ve Mrs. Megaw adli resim ogretmenlerinden de ders alir. Ancak bu kisilerden en onemlisi onun resim alaninda yetenegini fark ederek verdigi ozel bir egitimle onu yetistiren ve ogretmen olmasina destek veren Mrs. Megaw'dir. Ovgu ile yad ettigi Mrs. Megaw, o yillarda Eski Eserler Dairesi muduru olan A. H. Megaw'in esi Elektra Megaw'dir. Electra Megaw, Amavutluk kokenli, genellikle sulu boya tarzinda kir cicekleri yapan bir botanik ressamidir (Severis, 2000, s. 241, 243, 246: fig. 319). Ikinci Dunya Savasi ciktiginda adadan ayrilmissa da sonradan yeniden gelmis ve 1947'deki Pancyprian sergisinde eserlerini sergilemistir. (Severis, 2000, s. 241)

Mevhibe Sefik Viktorya'dan, yapilan degisik uygulamalar sonucu bir sinif atlatilarak, 8 yil yerine 7 yilda ve 1939'da mezun olmustur. (4) Viktorya Kiz Mektebini bitirdikten sonra ne olacagi belirsiz bir donem icinde 1941-42 ders yili baslangicina kadar beklemeli gunler gecirmisse de bos durmamis ve kendini yetistirmistir.

Mrs. Megaw mezuniyetleri sirasinda Mevhibe ile birlikte Soguda (Bekiroglu) ve Sidika adli uc kizi yetistirmeyi kafasina koymus ve onlara kendi evinde verecegi ozel bir kurs leklifinde bulunmustur. Mrs. Megaw, kendisinin Turkce, kucuk ogrencilerin de yeterince Ingilizce bilmedigi icin okulda verimli olamadigini, nasil olsa bir gun oradan ayrilacagi icin de hic olmazsa onlari yetistirmek istedigini samimiyetle belirtmistir. Uc kiz ogrenciyi de hem resim hem de guzel yazi konusunda ozel bir kursa tabii tutmus ve okulda da ikiser sinifta ders vermelerini saglamak suretiyle yetistirmeye calismis, kisa bir sure sonra da ikisini Tapu Dairesine, birini de okula ogretmen olarak gorevlendirilmeleri icin yardimci olacagina soz vermistir. O yillarda tapu belgelerinin yazilmasi 'cut lettering' denilen yukaridan asagiya dogru kalinlasan bir yazi sekli ile yapilmaktadir.

Bunun yaninda okul mudiresi Miss Stapley de okulun Turkce ogretmenlerinden Mevhibe'nin Turkcesinin guzel oldugunu isittigini, ayrica daktilo ogrenmesi halinde okulda baslatmak istedigi daktilo dersleri icin kendisini ders vermek uzere okula ogretmen olarak alabilecegini soyler. Mevhibe Sefik, o yillarda devletin actigi ogretmenlik sinavlarina da katilabilirdi. Ancak ilkokul ogretmenlerinin ilk tayinlerin koylere olmasi, gidip gelmenin ve o ya ailesinden ayrilip yalniz yasamanin zorluklarini dusundugunde kendisine Miss Stapley'in teklifi daha cazip gelmis ve onu degerlendirmeyi tercih etmistir. Boylece Mevhibe, Mrs. Megaw'dan arkadasi Sidika ile birlikte ozel ders almaya Baslar. Soguda, rahatsizligi nedeniyle bu kurslara katilamaz. Mrs. Megaw'dan egitim aldiklari bu sure icinde birinci ve ikinci sinif ogrencilerine ders de vermis, ancak resmen ogretmen olarak atanmasi yapilamamisti. Mrs. Megaw da bir yil sonra cikan Ikinci Dunya Savasi sebebiyle onlara birer tavsiye mektubu vererek adadan ayrilmistir.

Mevhibe Sefik ogretmenlige baslamadan once gecen zamanda "Touch System" tekniginde on parmakla daktiloda yazi yazma sanatini ogrenebilmek icin daktilo dersleri alir. Bunda da dayisinin katkilari vardir. Devlet Matbaasinda calisan dayisi Hasan Kemal, ona daktilo getirir ve ogretmeye baslar. Devam ettigi daktilo kurslarindan sonra London Chamber of Commerce sinavini tamamlar. Bugun kizinin evinde ve salonun bas kosesinde duran siyah emektar daktilo, onun meslek yasaminda onemli olan bir baska arac olmus ve bununla cok sayida sekreterin yetismesini saglamistir.

Mevhibe Hanim, 1940 yilinda ilk ogretmenlik gorevi icin sinava tabi tutulur. Ancak o yillarin maarif islerinden de sorumlu Evkaf Murahhasi Munir Beyin "Mevhibe'nin yasi kucuktur." seklindeki gerekcesi ile atamasi yapilamamis ve epeyce zaman sonra Munir Beyin ikna olmasi uzerine goreve baslayabilmisti. (5)

Mevhibe Sefik'in Ogretmenlik Yasami

Mevhibe Sefik, 1941-42 ders yilinda resim, Turkce ve daktilo ogretmeni olarak goreve baslar. 1945 yilinda hem Turkiye'de hem de Ingiltere'de resim konusunda iki burs teklifi alir. Mrs. Megaw'in tavsiyesi uzerine Turk okulunda ders verecegi icin Turkiye'yi tercih eder. Secme sinavlarinda basarili oldugu halde bir sure sonra Kibris'taki Turk konsolosun, secimlerin musamaha ile yapildigini one surerek burslari iptal ettirmesi uzerine Mevhibe Sefik bu alandaki sansini yitirir.

1941-42 yilinda tayini cikinca Mevhibe Sefik, Viktorya Kiz Mektebine yerlesir. 1952 yilina kadar onun calistigi donemlerde Ingiliz mudireler gorev almislardir. Bu sureler icinde Miss Stapley, Mrs. Stone ve Miss Clarke adli mudirelerle calismis, iyi iliskiler icinde gorevini yurutmustur. Mevhibe Sefik asagi yukari 43 yil suren ogretmenlik yasaminda baslangicta kendisine yapilan oneride oldugu gibi sadece resim, Turkce ve daktilo dersleri ile kalmamis zaman zaman ogretmen eksikligi icinde baska dersler de vermistir. Ornegin Citizenship (Vatandaslik) dersi verdigini, bu ders cercevesinde ogrencilerini mahkemelere goturdugunu animsiyor. Bir yil da muzik ogretmenligi yapmistir. Buna baslamasinda da ilginc bir anisi vardir. Bir parti sirasinda Jale Dervis'in piyanosu esliginde mudire Mrs. Stone ve Mevhibe Sefik sarki soylerler. Daha sonra bu alanda ogretmen ihtiyaci dogdugunda Mevhibe Sefik gorevlendirilir.

Mevhibe Sefik, yaz tatillerinde yetenekli ogrencilerini evinde calistirir, ayrica yetenegini ve bilgisini gelistirmek amaciyla esi ve kizi ile seyahatlere cikarak degisik muzeleri, sergileri gezer. Basvurdugu Turkiye bursunu alamayinca bundan bir yil sonra 1946 yili yaz tatilinde ilk seyahatini Turkiye'ye yapmistir. Burada bircok muze ve tarihi yeri dolasir. Daha sonra muhtemelen 1950'li yillarin baslarinda Ingiltere'ye giderek cok sayida galeri ve muzeyi de ziyaret eder. Burada on dokuz resim sergisini gezmis ve ozellikle National Gallery'de uc gununu gecirmistir. Daha sonraki donemlerde de yurtdisi seyahatleri olur (Riza, 1954, s. 12).

Kibris'in Ingiliz mustemlekesi oldugu yillarda ogretmenligin ne derece guc oldugu gunumuzde yayimlanan pek cok eserde dile getirilmektedir. Uzun yillar uygulanan bir kural sonucu kadin ogretmenler islerini kaybetmemek icin evlilik yapmadan kacinmak zorunda kalmalari onemli bir sorun olmustu. Bu gercekte Victoria donemi Ingilteresinde baslayan ve daha sonra da zaman zaman yapilan bir uygulama idi (Perkin, 1993, p. 201). Bir taraftan Ingiliz idarecileri gucendirmeme endisesi, diger taraftan da Turk milliyetciligini canli tutarak Turkiye Cumhuriyetindeki cagdaslasma hareketini izleme gayretleri en fazla ogretmenlerin gayretleri ile olmustur. Yapilan guzel bir serginin, musamerenin Ingiliz Milli Marsi ile sonlandirilmasi calisan ogretmenlerin emeklerine karsilik verilen kotu bir mukafat olur.

1952 yilinda Viktorya Kiz Okuluna Turkiye'den Semahat Ozlem adinda bir mudire atanir. Ayni yil Turkiye Egitim Bakanligi ile yapilan anlasmalar cercevesinde Lefkosa Tali Okullar Komisyonu tarafindan Viktorya Kiz Okulunun ismi, Viktorya Kiz Lisesi olarak degistirilir, ortaokuldan sonra lise programinin tatbikine baslanir ve okul lise derecesine yukseltilir. Ilave olarak Istanbul Kiz Lisesi programini takip eden iki sube olusturularak Turkiye universitelerinde Kibrisli kiz ogrencilerin de ogrenim yapabilmesi karari alinir (Behcet, 1969, s. 137, 138; Dedecay, 1985, s. 25, 58). Ayrica ortaokullara ilkokullardan ogretmen getirmek yerine maaslarinin da Turkiye'den odenmesi suretiyle ogretmen getirilmesi kararlastirilir (Feridun, c.2000, s.94). Mevhibe Sefik, Turkiyeli ogretmenlerden, 1931 yilindan sonra ilk defa olarak Turkiye'den atanan mudirenin, yaninda universite egitimli Aliye Eminli adinda bir resim ogretmeni ile Halide Oner adinda bir edebiyat ogretmenini animsamaktadir. Yeni gelen ogretmenler sozlesmeli ve gecici statude calistirilmislardir (Dedecay, 1985, s. 26).

Bu yeni donemde ogretmen ihtiyacini giderme ve egitim seviyesini yukseltme kaygilari ile alinan tedbirlerle aslinda, universite egitimleri olmadigi icin Kibrisli ogretmenlere agir bir darbe indirilmistir. Bir gun okul mudiresine gelen bir tomar mektupla bircok ogretmenin isine son verilmis, Mevhibe Sefik ise iki yil sureli sozlesmeye tabi tutularak 1957'ye kadar bu sartlarda calismisti. Bu degisiklik ileriki yillarda Sosyal Sigorta emekliliginde yil hesaplamasinda ona sorunlar yasatacak bir olay olur. 1959'dan itibaren daha iyi bir doneme giren Turk okullari ozellikle 1963-1970 yillari arasinda yasanan yokluk doneminde yeniden etkilenmis, kisitli malzemeler ile resim dersleri ve elisleri sergileri yurutulmek zorunda kalinmisti. Mevhibe Sefik, bunlara racgmen yilmamis, kirk uc yil boyunca ogretmenlik yasamini daha cok Resim ve Daktilo alaninda egitim vererek, ayrica uzun yillar mudur muavinligi gorevini de yaparak buyuk bir ozveri ve mutlulukla surdurmustur.

Mevhibe Sefik'in Resim Ogretmenligi

Mevhibe Sefik resim derslerinde belli bir plan cercevesinde hareket etmis ve farkli seviyelerdeki ogrencilerinin degisik konularda adim adim yetismelerini saglamister. Resim sergilerindeki duzenden kucuk siniflarda kara kalem ve boya kalemleri ile desen cizimi uzerinde yogunlasirken, ust siniflarda sulu boya ve yagli boya ile peyzaj, portre ve naturmort gibi temalarda resim yapmaya ozendirdigi anlasilmaktadir.

Daha cok peyzaj resmi uzerinde ogrencilerini egitmis, sinif mekani yerine degisik mekanlar secip ogrencilerini bazen acik mekanlarda calistirmistir. Ornegin okul bahcesi, Ayasofya onu veya meydani calisma yerlerinden bazilaridir. Bir defasinda bir otobus kiralayip, ogrencilerini Degirmenlik bolgesine goturur. Her ogrenciyi farkli bir noktada otobusten indirip, orada calismasini saglarken kendisi de otobus ile tek tek her ogrencinin yanina giderek, calismasina yardimci olur ve yonlendirir. Gunun sonunda aniden baslayan saganak ise ogrencilerini toplayincaya kadar ona korkulu dakikalar yasatmistir.

Bunun yaninda tematik calismalarla ogrencilerin hayal guclerini de zorlamayi ihmal elmemistir. Anilari arasinda genc ve yasli temasini verdigi zaman Silay Ahmet adli ogrencisinin yasli bit adam ile bir taym resmini yapisi, resimlerinde ciplak figurlere yer veren Necla isimli ogrencisinin sergideki resimleri yuzunden elestiri alinca onu, figurlerini ortmesi icin ikna etmeye calismasi ve Necla'nin figurlerine ancak tulden giysiler giydirmesini saglamasi vardir.

Mevhibe Sefik, 1968'e kadar okul yemekhanesini resim atolyesi olarak kullanmistir. Ancak 1954 yilinda Viktorya Kiz Okulunda kucuk bir atolyenin bulundugunu o yil Sonuc A. Riza'nin kendisiyle yaptigi bir soylesiden ogreniyoruz. Kolej 1. sinif ogrencisi Sonuc: A. Riza, Mevhibe Hanim ile soylesi yapmak icin randevu almister. Heyecanla gittigi bu gorusmeyi su sozlerle anlatir: "Merdivenleri ikiser, ucer ciktim. Daktilo calisma odasini gectim ve atolyenin kapisina geldim. Iki alcak pencereli ve etrafi eski masalarla cevrili bulunan bu kucucuk odaya atolye demek biraz acaip." (Riza, 1954, s. 11). Lefkosa Turk Kiz Lisesinin ayri bir resim odasina kavusmasi 1968'de Girne Kapisi'ndaki yeni binalarina gectikten sonra olur.

Mevhibe Hanim ogretmen olur olmaz resim sergileri acmayi kafasina koyar ve ogrencileri ile birlikte urettikleri senelik calismalari bir sergi ile halka sunmayi kendine gorev bilir. Ogretmenlige basladigi ilk yildan itibaren 1924'ten beri suregelen geleneksel Viktorya Gunu sergilerini (Behcet, 1969, s. 127) o da duzenlemis, bu sergiler diger musamereler yanmda okullarmm gururu olmus, egiitim ortami yaninda toplum yasamina da katki saglamistir. Albumunde izledigimiz bazi fotograflar, bu sergilerin niteliginin resim ve el isi desenlerinden Bati tarzindaki resim gelenegine dogru nasil bir degisim gosterdigini acikca yansitmaktadir.

Okul sergilerini onceleri farkli mekanlarda acarlardi. 1947 sergisi Ingiliz Enstitusunde duzenlenmis (Hursoz, 1947, 24 Mayis), sonraki yillarda Viktorya Kiz Mektebinin onu kemerli bir binasinda acilmisti. Bu sergi alani bugun Lefkosa'da Muftu Ziyai Efendi Sokagina bakan cephede buyuk bir kismi yikilip yerine Demak Ishani olarak yapilan binadir. Bu binanin sergi mekani olarak uygunlugu onceden eserlerin boyutlari, yerleri belirlenerek saglanirdi. Once sergilenecek yer tespit edilir, sonra ogrencilerin calisacaklari tuvallerin boyutu uygun olculerde hazirlanirdi. Bu sergiler 1952 yilindan sonra yeni biten Lefkosa Turk Lisesi (Erkek Lisesi) salonunda duzenlenmeye baslanmis, bu da kiz ve erkek ogrencilerin kismen kaynasmasinda bir adim olmustur.

Haziran 1946 tarihli Soz gazetesinde (1946, Mayis, No:2855, 2856) Viktorya Gunu acilan yillik musamere ile ilgili birkac haber yer alir. Bunlardan birini ilk kez detaylar uzerinde duran bir sanat kritigi yazisi olarak burada aynen vermeyi uygun bulduk:
 San'at Tenkidi
 Bir Resim Sergisi Munasebetiyle
 Yazan: Galeri Kurdu

 Gazetemiz Viktorya gunu Viktorya Okulu bahcesinde yapilan spor
 gosterileri ve sergi hakkindaki fikirlerini daha evvel
 nesretmisti. Simdi de sergide teshir edilen san'at eserleri
 hakkindaki mutalaalarini nesrediyor. Resim sergisini gezen bir
 arkadasimiz diyor ki:

 Viktorya'nin resim ve elisi sergisi hakikaten fevkaladeydi ve
 ciddiyetle uzerinde durulmaya deger.

 Sergiyi gezerken orada rastladigimiz ve goze carpan san'at eserleri
 karsisinda hayranlikla durduk. Teshir edilen eserler arasinda
 filhakika hakikaten birer sanat eseri olanlari bir hayli yekun
 tutuyordu. Genc kizlarimizin bir yillik gayret ve emeklerinin
 mahsulu olan bu guzel eserler takdir ve tebrike sayandir.

 El Isleri:
 El isleri ve el tezyinatinin Turklerde cok eski bir mazisi vardir.
 El isleri galerisinde gozumuze carpan tezyini esya motif ve renkleri
 bakimindan gayet ince ve dikkatli bir calisma mahsulu olduklarina
 hic suphe birakmiyordu. Her halde el islerinde gosterdikleri bu
 buyuk basariyla genc kizlarimiz an'aneyle Turk islemeciligi ve igne
 isini idame ettirmek suretiyle cemiyetlerine ve mensup olduklari
 millete karsi olan vazifelerini basariyorlar ve Turk ince isinin
 Turk kizlarinin parmaklari arasinda ne buyuk bit zevk ve guzellik
 meydana getirebilecegini ispat etmis bulunuyorlar.

 Resim galerisi uc kisma ayriliyordu. Kalem boyasi, sulu boya
 ve yagli boya.

 Hayali olan kalem boyasi resimlerinde gerek cizgi ve gerek ifade
 bakimindan en goze carpanlar arasinda Nermin Mustafa ve Lerzan
 Kazim'i hatirlatmadan gecemiyecegiz.

 Yaslarinin kucuk ve hele resim tecrubelerinin pek az olmasina
 ragmen bu galerideki resimler zevk ve heyecanla seyredilip uzerinde
 uzun uzun durulabilecek guzel eserlerdi. (devami yarin)

 Bir Resim Sergisi Munasebetiyle
 Yazan : Galeri Kurdu (dunden kalan)

 Sulu boyada Jale Safa'nin "Ev ve Kapisi", Mualla Celalettin'in
 "Cocuk Portresi", Ferhan Ali'nin "Kiz ve Gemici" tablolari, Zekiye
 Mustafa'nin "Kibris", Ulvan Aziz'in "Koruluk" u ve ciceklerden
 Nezihe Rasim'in "Gol"u, Perihan Tahsin'in "Kelebek ve Cicegi",
 Saziye Mehmet'in "Peyzaj"i, Hale Safa'nin "Balik Aglari Arasinda
 Safak"i gerek renk, canlilik ve tesir bakimindan en fevkaladeleri
 idi. Diger sayamadigimiz tablolar da ayri ayri guzeldi.

 Yagli Boya:
 Yagli boya tablolar ilk bakista melankolik gorunuyordu, renkler
 koyu, karanlik ve nisbeten cansizdi. Bunun sebebini ogrenmekte
 gecikmedik ve genc kizlarimiza hak verdik. Galiba bazi boyalari
 harp dolayisiyla kendileri yapmak zorunda kaliyorlarmis. Bu
 takdirde istenilen tam rengi verememis olmalarina hak vermeli.

 Yagliboyada Suheyla Sakir'in "Kapis"si, Suheyla Ahmed'in "Bulut
 ve Agac"i, Altan Naci'nin "Fecir Vakti" en cok goze carpanlardi.

 Bu munasebetle Pervin Teoman'in "Portresi"ni, Feriha'nin "Kayseri
 Yakininda Sultan Hanini" da hatirlatmak isteriz.

 Netice ve Teklif:
 Netice itibariyla soylemek istedigimiz: Genc Kizlarimizin san'at
 kudreti ustun. Sayin Mudureyi ve bilhassa Viktorya resim
 ogretmenini tebrik ve takdir en basta gelen vazifemiz.

 Bu guzel el isleriyle tablolari Viktorya idaresi bir yolunu bulup
 British Council vasitasiyla bilhassa Ingiltere ve yabanci
 memleketlerde de teshir ettirmeye muvaffak olurlarsa eminiz ki bu
 eserler guzel san'at zevk ve estetigi daha ustun olan bu gibi
 yerlerde daha buyuk bir hayranlikla karsilanacaktir.

 Resim ogretmeni Bayan Mevhibe'yi tebrik ederiz.

Bu yazinin ilk kez detaya inerek isimler etrafinda sergiyi ele almis olmasi plastik sanatlar alaninda o yillarda var olan kipirdanislari gostermektedir. Bir yil sonra yine ayni tarihte acilan sergi icin de Hursoz gazetesinde "Elisi, sulu ve yagli boya resimler, guzel motif ve desenleri ihtiva eden sanat eserleri genc kizlarin sanat kudreti hakkinda bizde hakli bir gurur uyandirmistir. Bilhassa kucuklerin yaptigi resimler ciddi bit alaka toplamistir." seklinde ovgu dolu sozler yer almissa da detaylara inilmemistir (Hursoz, 1947, 19 Mayis s. 1).

Mevhibe Sefik, resim derslerindeki ustun yetenekli ogrencilerini tek tek animsiyor. Bunlarin kimisi bugunun sanat dehalari diyebilecegimiz isimleridir. Inci Kansu, Aylin Orek ve Goral Ozkan bunlarin basinda gelmektedir. Bunlardan Inci Kansu, her konusmasinda Mevhibe Sefik'i yuce duygular ile anmaktadir. Anilarda ise ozellikle her sene yapilan musamerelerde sahnelenecek piyes icin hazirlanan dekorlar kalmistir.

Mevhibe Sefik ve Tiyatro

Mevhibe Sefik tiyatroya da ilgi duymustur. Bu ilginin sebebi biraz da henuz yedi yasinda iken sahneye cikmasidir. 1930'lu ve 1940'li yillarda ara sira, Turkiye'den adaya bazi tiyatro topluluklari gelip gosteriler yaparlar. Bir defasinda dayisi ve arkadaslari Turkiye'den Merhum Bedia Muvahhit ile bir grup sanatkari Kibris'ta tiyatro sahnelemek uzere getirtmislerdir. Ancak sahnelenecek oyundaki cocuk rolunu yapan kucuk oyuncu getirilemedigi icin bu rolu Mevhibe oynar. Daha sonraki donemlerde okul hayatinda da defalarca sahneye cikmis, genellikle bas rolleri ustlenmistir. Ogretmenlik hayatinda ise spor kulubunun oynadigi Kahraman piyesinde iki tango soyleyerek yine ayni kulubun temsil ettigi Akin piyesinde Nedime rolunu almis, Viktorya mezunlar kurumunun oynadigi bir piyese de Martilarve Ayse sarkilari ile istirak etmistir. Ayni zamanda Darulelhan hazirladigi konsere refakat eder. Bu konserde Kibris Turkiye Konsolosu Orhan Bey sesini pek begenmis ve Turkiye'de kalmasi sarti ile Ankara Konservatuvarina gonderilebilecegini belirtmistir (Riza, 1954, s. 12).

1950'lerde Kibris Radyosundaki radyo piyeslerinde rol almisti. 1963 oncesinde once Kibris Radyosunda, daha sonra da Bayrak Radyosunda Suphi Riza'nin yonetiminde hazirlanan her hafta bir saatlik tiyatro programinda senelerce rol almistir. Kibris Radyo Yayin Korporasyonunda "Radyo Tiyatrosu" programinda haftada bir gece Suphi Riza yonetiminde Orhan Avkiran, Mevhibe Sefik, Lutfi Hami, Fevziye Hulusi, Fitnat Zeynel, Mustafa Zeynel'in rol aldigi oyunlardan biri Ankara Sokagi dir (Balikcioglu, 2002, s. 76). Soyledigine gore, Mevhibe Sefik rolunu o denli inandirici yaparmis ki, zaman zaman esi Ali Sefik Beyi "Kiskanmiyor musun?" diye elestirirlermis. Bazen piyeslerin yazari Riza Suphi Bey bile eserleri kendisinin mi yoksa Mevhibe Hanim mi yazdigi konusunda sasirir, gozyaslarini tutamazmis (Kav, 1994, s. 21).

Onun tiyatroya olan yakinligi, bir oyuncu olmaktan cok ogrencileri ile yaptigi sahne dekorlari hazirlama etkinligi bakimindan onemlidir. Mevhibe Sefik, "Sahne dekorlarina deger verdigim ve ilk sahne dekorlarini hazirlayarak insanlara sanatsal bir gosteri sundugum icin mutluyum." der. Ona gore bir koy cesmesini gostermek, suyun sahneye akisini canlandirmak, milli oyunlarin adada bilinmedigi bir donemde milli oyunlar sahnelemek kadar onemli katkilardir.

Yasar Ersoy'un Kibris Turk tiyatro tarihi ile ilgili olarak yazdigi iki ciltlik kitapta sahne dekorlarindan hic soz edilmemesi o yillarin yokluklari icinde bir sahne yaratmanin guclugunun unutulmus oldugunu gostermektedir. Oysa bugun Mevhibe Sefik'in yani sira Inci Kansu, Goral Ozkan gibi sanatcilarin da en fazla heyecanla animsadigi olaylar, her yil duzenlenen musamereler ve tiyatro sahneleridir. Bunlar icin once kaput bezinden dekorlar hazirlanir. Cok buyuk boydaki sahne dekoru, oyunun konusuna gore boyanir ve sahneye asilir. Mevhibe Sefik, ilk kez Belig Papa Tiyatrosu'nda yaptiklari musamere icin bir sahne dekoru hazirlamak istemis, aile bireylerinden topladigi yatak carsaflari ve satin aldigi boyalan kullanarak, ogrencileriyle birlikte calismak suretiyle bu dekoru tamamlamistir. Musamerelerde butun bu hazirliklari muzik ogretmeni Servet Pertev ile isbirligi icinde yaparlar. Bos Besik oyunu icin yedi dekor hazirlamislardir. Bu dekorlarin asilmasinda en buyuk yardimcilari, o yillarin emektar marangozu Asmaalti'dan Ali Usta'dir. Onceleri kaput bezi ile yapilan bu dekorlar cok pahali olmasi nedeniyle daha sonralari kagit uzerine yapilmaya baslanir. Kagitlar uzerine resimlenen dekorlar, bezden yapilmis cercevenin icine yerlestirilir. Kenarlarina asilan iple de yukan kaldirilip diger bir dekor asagiya indirilir. Bunlar asildiktan sonra bazen sehpa veya merdiven ustunde bozulan yerler yeniden boyanarak rotuslar yapilirdi.

1947'de oynanan Kucuk Balikcilar adli bir oyunda sahneye bir deniz fonu asilmis, kontrplaktan yarim bir gemi yaptirilmis, bunun icine de denizciler oturtulmustur. Oyunda rol alan iki kiz ogrenci icin uzeri yaldizli kuyrugu olan birer giysi hazirlanmis ve bunlar deniz kizi olarak giydirilmisti. Bu oyun, gunluk Hursoz gazetesinde "Kucuk Balikcilar zengin bir dekor icerisinde balikci sarkisini soyleyerek muntazam kurek hareketleriyle gecerken cok begenilmis ve alkislanmislardi." sozleri ile ovguye deger bulunur. Musamerede Kucuk Balikcilar, Sukutu Hayal, Bas Taci, Shakespeare'in Hob and Cobanlari ile Bahar adli danslarin oynandigi, ozellikle Bahar adli eser ve dekorunun ince bir zevk ve sanatin mahsulu oldugu belirtilir. Bu yazinin sonunda uc bucuk saatlik oldukca uzun, ancak zevkli gecen gosteride yer alan danslar ve sarkilari hazirlayan okulun faal jimnastik ogretmeni Perihan Celal ve Bayan Mevhibe Huseyin tebrik edilir (Hursoz 1947 Mart Sayi: 202). Mevhibe Sefik'in anilarinda kalanlardan biri de Jale Dervis ile birlikte hazirladiklari Acem Carsisi oyununun dekorudur.

Musamerelerdeki tiyatrolar veya danslarda kullanilan kiyafetlerin bir kismi da yine Mevhibe Hanimin denetiminde ogrencilerle birlikte hazirlanirdi. Dans etekleri genellikle grifon kagidindan olur, ayakkabilar ise ogrencinin ayak kalibina gore kesilen kartonlarin uzerine bez dikilip suslenerek yapilirdi.

Mevhibe Sefik'in buyuk bir ozenle hazirladigi bu dekorlari Inci Kansu peyzaj resminin halka sevdirilmesi olarak nitelemektedir. Mevhibe Sefik'e bu dekorlari nereden ogrendigini sordugumuzda bunu pek animsayamaz. Ancak peyzaj resminin adadaki gecmisi ve bunun tiyatro sahnelerinde kullanilmasinin ondan daha eskilere gittigini tahmin ediyoruz. Ornegin, 1927 yilinda Kardes Ocagi tarafindan sergilenen Cifte Keramet adli oyunda ilk kez cok buyuk boyutlarda bir peyzaj resminin arka fon olarak kullanildigi Yasar Ersoy'un kitabinda verilen bir fotografta gorulmektedir (Ersoy, 1998, s. 41).

16 Nisan 1945'de Yeni Mecmua'da yer alan Lutfi Ekenoglu imzali bir yazida o yillarda oynanan oyunlarda esyalarin sahnenin orasina burasina rastgele serpildigi belirtilerek elestirilmisse (An, 1999, s. 95) de bu elestirinin profesyonel olarak sahnelenen oyunlar icin gecerli oldugu dusunulebilir. Yine Lefkosa Turk Lisesi tarafindan duzenlenen musamere icin Soz gazetesinde Kulis Kurdu imzali "Musamere Boyle Olur" basligi altindaki yazida, ozellikle oyunculardan ovgu dolu sozlerle bahsedilmekte, dekor ise "... bir mektep teskilatinin imkanlari derecesine gore meydana getirilmis, sade fakat hos ve uygundu." seklinde degerlendirilmektedir. Oysa Viktorya Kiz Lisesinin sahne dekorlari, bir kadin titizliginin ve zevkinin yansimalaridir. Mevhibe Sefik, bunlari 1970'lere kadar surdurduklerini, ozellikle eski ogrencileri Goral Ozkan ve Yalkin Muhtaroglu'nun Turkiye'deki egitimlerini tamamlayip Kiz Lisesine ogretmen olarak gelmelerinden sonra yardimlasarak yaptiklarini anlatir. Kiz Lisesi'nin ikinci resim ogretmeni olan Goral Ozkan, Mevhibe Sefik'in en buyuk yardimcisi olur. Sadece Mevhibe Sefik'in elindeki fotograflardan izleyebildigimize kadariyla o yillarda duzenlenen profesyonel tiyatro sahneleri ile boy olcusecek duzeyde olan bu dekorlar, her yil yeniden yapilmis, ancak saklanmamistir. Gunumuze kalmis olsalardi, herhalde bunlarla bir tiyatro muzesinin kurulusunun gerceklesmesi mumkun olabilirdi. Bunun yani sira buyuk boy peyzaj resmi icin de ornekler olusturabileceklerdi.

Mevhibe Sefik'e bu dekorlari hazirlarken o yillarda ogrencileri olan ve bugun Kibris'ta cok iyi taninan Inci Kansu, Goral Ozkan, Ayse Cosar, Bahire Inan gibi ogrencileri yardimci olmuslardir. Sahne hazirliklarina baslandiginda evinin on tarafindaki kismi bit atolye gibi kullanir, islim ustunde kaynattiklari tutkali, boya ile karistirir, kagitlari boyarlardi. Bu boyalar onceleri Rum tarafindaki tuccarlardan, daha sonra Lefkosa'da Aksoylar adli Turk magazasindan temin edilmistir. Bol miktarda yaldiz da kullanilirdi. Ozellikle diplomalarin yazi isini de kendisinin yaptigini ve bunlarda da yaldiz kullandigini ogreniyoruz. Onun kagit boyama yontemi, bize bugun Inci Kansu'nun kagit seruvenini acikliyor. Inci Kansu, tipki o gunlerde birlikte yaptiklari gibi bugun de kagit uretimi icin mutfaginin mikserinden, duduklu tenceresinden faydalanarak degisik kagitlar hazirlamakta, bez parcalari yaninda meyveler ve sebzelerle yeni dokulu kagitlar hazirlamak ve boyamak suretiyle eserlerini yaratmaktadir. Onun bu yaratma macerasindaki sabirli ve titiz calismada ogrencilik gunlerinde yakin ilgisiyle yetistigi Mevhibe Hanim'in, onunla birlikte gerceklestirdikleri calismalarin, yasadiklari deneyimlerin muhim bir katkisi olsa gerektir.

Once ogrencisi ve daha sonra mesai arkadasi olan resim ogretmeni ve ressam Goral Ozkan da her yil ikinci ders donemi icinde okul musamereleri icin dekor calistiklarini ve bu etkinliklerin onun daha sonraki resim hayatinda onemli deneyimler kazandirdigini anlatir ve "biz onun ciraklariydik" der. Mevhibe Hamm engin tecrubesi, yaraticiligi, parlak zekasi, hos sohbeti, hosgorulu ve sevgi dolu kalbiyle onlara ileriki yasamlarinda bit rehber olmustur.

Mevhibe Sefik'in Mesleginden Geriye Kalan Eserleri

Mevhibe Sefik, sahip oldugu resim yetenegine karsin sadece ogretmekle yetinmistir. O, guzel konusmanin, guzel yazi yazmanin bit sanat oldugunu anlatir. "Tabiati boya ve firca ile yani basiniza getirmek, 'touch system' ile daktiloda yazi yazmak da birer sanattir." der. Bu bilincle kendisini tamami ile okuluna, sanata ve ogrencilerine adamis bit kisi olarak Mevhibe Sefik binlerce ogrenciyi yetistirmis ve bundan da buyuk bir mutluluk duymustur. Kisisel sergi acmayan, sadece tiyatro dekorlarini ve ogrencilerinin eserlerini sergilemekle yetinen Mevhibe Sefik, meslek alanlarinda 'resim' dalini, secen ya da resimle amator olarak ugrasan Sema Zihni (merhum), Yalkin Muhtaroglu, Goral Ozkan, Aylin Orek, Gulten Can, Selma Yusuf (merhum), (6) Ayten Erduran (merhum), Guner Erol, Goksel Ozdil adli ogrencilerinin basarilarini gormekle buyuk bir kivanc duymaktadir. Ancak Sonuc A. Riza'nin yazdiklarindan ogretmenligi sirasinda bos saatlerinde resim yaptigini ogreniyoruz. Sonuc odaya girdiginde Mevhibe Hanim'i sirtinda yer yer boyanmis beyaz onlugu, elinde fircasi karsisindaki tabloyu uzaktan seyrederken bulur. "Ve onu rahatsiz etmeden musamba uzerinde durmadan hareket eden fircasinin cizdigi guzel renkleri uzun bir sure izledim" der (Riza, 1954, s. 11).

Mevhibe Sefik'in kisisel sergi acmaya yonelmemesi o yillarin toplum yapisindan kaynaklanan bir olay olarak dusunulebilir. Resimle ugrasan kisilerin az ve erkek egemen bir toplum olmasi, galerilerin noksanligi Mevhibe Hanim', okulunun limitleri icinde calismaya yoneltmistir. Gunumuz kadin sanatcilarinin sanat yasamlarina tam anlamiyla ogretmenlikten emekliye ayrildiktan sonra basladiklari bilinmektedir. Ayrica o yillardaki emeklilik yasi, sosyal guvence gibi olaylarin noksanligi, 1963 sonrasi yasanan ekonomik sorunlar ve onun ogretmenlik meslegini cok sevmesi de bu etkenlerden bazilandir. Ingiliz doneminde evlenen kadinlarin islerinden cikarilmalari onun gec evlenmesine neden olmus, bu sorumluluklarla da emeklilige ancak 43 yillik bir meslek yasamindan sonra girmistir.

Mevhibe Sefik esini kaybettikten sonra yasamini kizinin yaninda surdurmektedir. Burada ozenle saklanan buyuk boy tuvallerdeki iki resim kizlari gibi andigi Inci Kansu ve Silay Ahmet adli iki ogrencisinin tablolaridir. Silay'in tablosu Mevhibe Hanim ve kucaginda kucuk kizi Naciye'yi gosteren bir portre calismasidir. Inci Yilmaz (Kansu) imzali diger resim ise Naciye'nin tam boy portresidir. Her iki resim de henuz hic bir akademik egitim almayan bu ogrencilerin ne denli basarili ve yetenekli cizgilere sahip olduklarini, yansitmaktadir.

Mevhibe Sefik'in bugun evinde bas kosede adeta bir biblo gibi saklanan siyah daktilosu da gecmisinin bir baska parcasi olarak bakanlara cok sey animsatiyor. Sahne dekorlarindan ise sadece fotograflar ve birkac gazete haberi kalmis, biraz da belleklerde olanlar ... Gunumuzde cagdas kentlerin en onemli muzelerinden biri de tiyatro muzeleridir. Kuzey Kibris'ta hem tiyatro muzesi hem de cagdas muzenin olmamasi uzucudur. Ayrica toplum olarak tarih ve arsiv bilincinin gelismemis olmasi gunumuzde bile bircok seyin atilip kaybolmasina sebep olmaktadir. Bunlarin hic olmazsa fotograflarla arsivlenmesinin gelecege onemli bir katki olacagi inanci icindeyiz.

Bazi sanatcilarin kendilerini yonlendiren kisiler olarak sadece universite hocalarini anmalari Mevhibe Sefik'i biraz incitmektedir. Ancak gunumuz sanatcilari ve ozellikle egitime onem veren sanatcilar genellikle gazetecilerle yaptiklari uzun soylesilerde mutlaka ondan vefa ile bahsetmektedirler. Ozellikle Inci Kansu'nun vefali bir ogrenci ve yakin bir dost olarak tum basarilarinda Mevhibe Hanimi anmasi, bu emegin manevi bir karsiligidir. Inci Kansu, kendi sanatini, anlatirken, Mevhibe Sefik'in ozellikle Viktorya Kiz Lisesindeki gunlerinde guzel konusmasi, kizil saclari, muntazam fizigi ve sik giyimi ile onu cok etkiledigini soyler. Ancak bunlarin da otesinde en fazla onlara verdigi resim derslerinde yeteneklerini gelistirme yonundeki tesviklerinden, yaraticiliga ve ozgur ifadeye yoneltisinden, ayrica tiyatro sahnelerini hazirladigi siradaki yogun calismalarinda bireysellik yaninda isbirligi ruhunun gelistirilmesine yonelik katkilarinin oneminden bahseder.

Ogrencilerinden Gulten Can, 1985 yilindan beri yuruttugu Portfolio Sanat Okulu'nda Mevhibe Hanimdan aldigi sevkle egitim veren bir sanatci/egitimcidir. Portfolio'da resmin yani sira seramik, batik, ebru, cicek yapimi, vitray, bakir isleri gibi daha cok el emegi gerektiren konularda egitim vererek her yil ogrencilerinin eserlerinden olusan bir sergi duzenlenmektedir. Ankara Kiz Teknik Okulu Resim Anabilim Dalindan mezun olan Gulten Can, gazeteci Taylan Kav ile yaptigi ve Kibris gazetesinde yayimlanan bir soyleside (Kav, 1995 Ekim, s. 33) "Ogunmek gibi olmasin ama birincilikle mezun oldum." diyerek anlattigi basarisina ortaokuldaki resim ogretmeninin katkisini hemen ekler. Taylan Kav, Gulten Can'in sozlerini soyle aktarir: "Ortaokulda Mevhibe Sefik Hanim, resim hocalari imis. 'Mevhibe Hanimin bize verdigini anlatamam ... Boya kokusunu, vernik kokusunu sevdik sayesinde ... Yani belki o olmasa, baska dallara girebilirdik.' Ben de Mevhibe Hanimi tesadufen tanimis, bu sayfalarima almistim." Goksel Sarica Ozdil de ortaokulun ilk iki yilini Viktorya Kiz Lisesinde okudugu donemde resim hocalarinin Mevhibe Sefik oldugunu ve onu ogrencilerine resim sevgisini asilayan iyi bir ogretmen olarak animsadigini belirtir. Goral Ozkan ise ondan yine buyuk bir sevgi ve saygi ile sozeder. Ilk resim ogretmeni olan Mevhibe Hanimin ogrettikleri ile icindeki resim sanatinin ilk isiltilari parlamis, sanata tutkusu artmistir. Bu sevgi sonucu o da resim ogretmenligi yolunu secmis, yillar sonra ayni okulda bu kez mesai arkadasi olarak yeniden birlikte olduklarinda Mevhibe Hanimdan hala daha cok sey ogrenebilecegini anlamistir. Yuksek egitimi sirasinda teorik olarak aldigil bilgilerin cokluguna ragmen Mevhibe Hanim uygulama alaninda ona isin esaslarini ogreten, yol gosteren hocasi ayrica meslek ve ozel yasaminda da en ozel dostu olmus ve bu dostluk hala devam etmektedir. Hayatinin ilk basamaklarindan itibaren Mevhibe Hanimi tanimayi ve her donemde onun ogrencisi olmayi hayatinin sansi olarak degerlendiren Goral Ozkan, ortaokul yillarindaki o ilk resim derslerinin guzelligi ve tadinin unutulur gibi olmadigini ifade etmektedir.

Mevhibe Sefik kirk iki yil yedi aylik hizmetinden sonra 9 Nisan 1983'te emekliye ayrilir. Sermin Kotak'in mudire oldugu bu donemde oyunculari icinde Latif Birgen, Ayhatun Atesin'in de bulundugu kisa bir oyun sahnelenir. Inci Kansu ise ona bir siir armagan eder. O, asagida sundugumuz "Ogretmenim" isimli armagan siirin meslek yasami boyunca aldigi en buyuk mukafatlardan biri oldugunu soylemektedir.

 Bir duman var gozlerimin onunde
 Halka halka olmus uzaklara gidiyor
 Bit siz
 Bit de ben varim bu dumanin icinde

 Ben bir minnacik bir ogrenci
 Siz de elimden tutan beni egiten
 En sefkatlisi, en guzeli

 Bir meleksiniz ogretmenim
 Kizil sacli, nur yuzlu
 Sicacik, sevgi dolu
 Bit annesiniz ogretmenim

 Ellerinizi goruyorum bu duman icinde
 Gul yapraklari gibi pembecik, incecik
 Cizgiler canlaniyor, sekiller uyaniyor, renkter civildasiyor
 Bu sihirli ellerde

 Siz benim buyuyen sevgim
 Siz benim tek ornegim
 Siz benim cizgi, sekil ve rengim
 Siz benim cesaretim

 Ne mutlu size ogretmenim
 Yuzlerce talebe yetistirdiniz
 Can verdiniz, hayat verdiniz
 Yuzlerce eseriniz var sizin

 Yillar o melek yuzunuzde cizgiler cizdi diye
 Siz bizden kopmayin, ayrilmayin
 Siz bu okulun her sinifinda, her kosesinde
 Siz hepimizin kalbinde.

Inci Kansu

Mevhibe Sefik resim ogretmenligi alanindaki dusuncelerini ve sevgisini su sozlerle ortaya koymaktadir.
 Bu fircayi goruyor musunuz? Iste ben buna asigim. Tabiatin butun
 guzellikleri bu fircanin tellerinde gizlidir. Beni denizin
 maviliklerine gomen, bir dag basina cikaran, bir pinardan
 akan suya goturen, eski bir kemer altinda dertlerimi tazeleyen,
 unutulmus kirik bir kupu dile getiren hep odur. Beni aglatan da
 gulduren de iste bu essiz fircadir.


Kibris kultur tarihi yaziciliginda ozellikle Turk toplumunun kendini ifade etme ve dis dunyaya acilma donemi olan 20. yuzyilin ilk yarisinin sosyal, kulturel ve siyasi olaylarinin aydinlatilmasi ve ortaya daha detayli, urunlerin konmasi gerekmektedir. Bu yillarin egitimcileri, Ingiliz Koloni idaresinin cagdas goruntusu arkasinda gizli ve baskici bir rejimin hakim oldugu ortamda cagdaslasma gayretleri yaninda Turk kimligini korurlar. Bir taraftan da Turkiye Cumhuriyeti'ne gizli de olsa baglilik gosterip Ataturk ile baslatilan inkilaplarin siki bir takipcisi olarak ogrenciler yetistirirler.

Turk toplumunun kulturel boyutlarda 1925-1960 yillari arasinda suratle ilerleme gostermesi ozellikle egitim kurumlarinda ozverili calisan ogretmenler sayesinde olur. Etraflarinda bulabildikleri her bilgiyi yeni sentezlerle gelistirerek ogreten bu ogretmenler, ogrencilerini yetenekleri dogrultusunda bir yuksek ogretime tesvik ederek metodolojik calismalara dayali bir egitimin okullara girmesine katkida bulunurlar. Mevhibe Sefik, iste bu egitimcilerin arasinda yer alir. Ali Nesim'in dedigi gibi 'Batmayan Egitim Guneslerimizden' biri olarak o, her ne kadar bu kitaba girememisse de, Kibris'in ilk sanat egitimcisi sifatiyla bu unvana layik kisidir. Bu yazi Mevhibe Sefik'in sanat egitimine olan katkilarinin Kibris egitim tarihi icinde yer almasi gerektigi inanci ile simdiye kadar yazilmis egitim tarihlerine bir ilavede bulunmak ve onu olumsuzlestirebilmek icin yazilmistir.

Photographs from Mevhibe Sefik's album Mevhibe Sefik'in albumunden resimler

Mevhibe Sefik and her husband Ali Sefik.

Mevhibe Sefik ve esi Ali Sefik.


Mevhibe Sefik and Perihan Celal, her colleague.

Mevhibe Selik ve okul arkadasi Perihan Celal.


The students annual art exhibitions organised by Mevhibe Sefik.

Mevhibe Sefik'in duzenledigi yil sonu okul sergileri.


The theatre stage designs prepared by Mevhibe Sefik and her students for annual entertainments.

Mevhibe Sefik'in ogrencileri ile birlikte hazirladigi sene sonu musamerelerindeki tiyatro sahne tasarimlari.



(1) Bu bilgiler sayin Mevhibe Sefik tarafindan verilmistir.

(2) Muhterem Hanimin Ayasofya Kiz Ilkokulu ogretmeni oldugu Ayse Mustafa Katipoglu tarafindan da bahsedilir. Bkz. (Nesim, 1987. s. 404).

(3) Bu okul, 1901-1902 ders doneminde Viktorya Islam Inas Sanayi Mektebi veya Rustiyesi olarak kurulmus ancak defalarca ismi degistirilmistir. 1920-26 yillari arasinda Viktorya Kiz Mektebi, 1926-1935 yillarinda Viktorya Kiz Lisesi, 1935-1951 yillari arasinda Viktorya Kiz Mektebi, 1951-1952 yillarinda Viktorya Tali Kiz Okulu, 1953-1958'de Viktorya Turk Kiz Lisesi, 1961-1979'da Lefkosa Turk Kiz Lisesi, 1979'dan bugune dek de 20 Temmuz Lisesi isimlerini almistir. (Dedecay 1985, s. 20).

(4) Viktorya Kiz Okulunun lise haline gelmesi 1952 yili olarak verilmektedir. (Dedecay, 1985. s. 25). 15 Eylul 1952'de alinan kararla Viktorya Ortaokulundan sonra lise programinin tatbikine ve lise derecesine yukseltilmesine karar verilmisti. (Behcet 1969, s. 137). Mevhibe Sefik'in bu bilgisi dogrultusunda bu tarihten once lise statusune girmese de egitim suresi artirilarak egitim seviyesi yukseltilmistir.

(5) 1937 yilindan 1943 yilina kadar Maarif Encumeni Komisyonu tarafindan ilkokullara genc lise mezunlari yerine yasli mutekait ogretmenlerin tayini tartisilmis, "ogretmen koleji mezunlarinin hepsinin tayin edildigini, genclerden ise Ingilizce Ordinary ile Distinction imtihanini gecmesi istendigini ve bu imtihanlari gegenlerin tayin edilmesinde hukumetin israr ettigini" o yillarin maarif muduru ileri surer. Ayrica Ayasofya Kiz Ilkokulunda muallimlerin yetistirilmesi icin 2 yillik kurs acildigi ve bunu bitirmeyen genc muallimlerin tayin edilemeyecegi maarif muduru tarafindan encumene bildirilmistir. (Behcet, 1969, s. 99-100). 1931-1950 yillari arasinda tali okullarla ilgili raporlarin eksikligine ragmen, ilkokul ogretmenleri icin uygulanan bu kurallarin Viktorya Kiz Okulunda da benzer sekilde oldugu dusunulebilir.

(6) Selma Yusuf Saygin uzun yillar Ankara'da yasamis, olmeden kisa bir sure once Lefkosa'da bir sergi acip, ayrica siir ve resimlerini bir kitapta topladi.


An, Ahmet (1999). Kibris Turk Kulturu Uzerine Yazilar, Lefkosa: Kivilcim Yayinlari No: 5.

An, Ahmet (2002). Kibris'in Yetistirdigi Degerler, Lefkosa: AkCag Yayinlari.

Balikcioglu, Osman (2002). Bizim Insanimiz Bizim Lefkosamiz, Toplum Yayinlari.

Behcet, Hasan (1969). Kibris Turk Maarif Tarihi (1571-1968), Lefkosa- Kibris.

Dedecay, Servet Sami (1985). Viktorya Islam Inas Sanayi Mektebi ve Kibrisli Turk Kadininin Haklari (1902-1985), Magosa, Lefkosa Ozel Turk Universitesi Yayinlari: 3.

Ersoy, Yasar (1998). Kibris Turk Tiyatro Hareketi Lefkosa: Peyak Kultur Yayinlari: 1.

Feridun, Husnu (c. 2000). Egitimle Bit Omur, Istanbul: Bogazici Yayinlari, (kitaba tarih konmamistir ancak 2000 yilinda yayinlanmis oldugu sanilmaktadir).

Hursoz (1947 Mayis). No: 267, s. 24.

Hursoz (1947 Mart), Sayi: 202, 14 Mart Persembe.

Hursoz (1947 Mayis). Sayi: 271, 29 Mayis, s. 1.

Kav, Taylan (1994 Subat). Mevhibe Sefik, Kibris, 9 Subat 1994, s. 20-21

Kav, Taylan (1995 Ekim). Gulten Can, Kibris, 18 Ekim Carsamba 1995, s. 32-33.

Nesim, Ali (1987). Batmayan Egitim Guneslerimiz, Lefkosa: KKTC Milli Egitim Egitim ve Kultur Bakanligi Yayinlari.

Perkin, Joan (1993). Victorian Women, London: John Murray.

Riza, Sonuc, A. (1954). Okulumuzdan Yetisenler, Utku, Mayis 1954, Yil: 6, sayi: 13, s. 11-12.

Severis, Rita, C. (2000) Travelling Artists in Cyprus 1700-1960, London: Philip Wilson Publishers.

Soz (1932 Haziran). 9 Haziran s. 2.

Soz (1946 Mayis). Sene 28, Sayi: 2855, 2856.

Netice Yildiz, Doc. Dr. Netice Yildiz, Sanat Tarihcisi, Mimarlik Fakultesi, Dogu Akdeniz Universitesi, Gazimagusa, KKTC, Mersin 10-Turkiye. e-mail:
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Author:Yildiz, Netice
Publication:Kadin/Woman 2000
Geographic Code:4EXCY
Date:Jun 1, 2002
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