The ATATÜRK Monument

Prof. Dr. Mehmet Şadi Çalık


In 1966 a competition was organized for the Atatürk Monument in METU. The work of Şadi Çalık came first in the competition. Şadi Çalık was born in 1917 in Kandiye and then they immigrated to İzmir in 1923. In 1939, he became a student of Belling at the Academy of Fine Arts. In 1949 he went to Paris and came back next year. In 1957, his interest in minimalism took great attention. He became an assistant in 1959, an associate professor in 1969 and a professor in 1971 in the Academy of Fine Arts . Atatürk Monument in METU, and U-3 Abstract sculpture and monument of 50th Anniversary Monument consisting of 50 steel pipes in Galatasaray are his most popular monuments. Çalık made artistic sculptures, architectural works, figurative works, abstract sculptures in many places. He passed away on December 24, 1979 in Istanbul.

(Source: Hüseyin Gezer “Cumhuriyet Dönemi Türk Heykeli” İş Bankası Yayınları (1983) Sayfa 199) 


"The story of the Atatürk Monument", told by one of our former presidents', Kemal Kurdaş...

In 1966, after the construction of a large part of the university campus was completed and the site came in sight, we decided to decorate the campus with various works of art. The first project that we were thinking was to build an ATATURK monument on campus. We organi- zed an art competition for the monument. The theme that we wanted and expected to see in the monument was that the people who lived in Anatolia today had been the natural inheritors of civilizations nurtured by the soils of Anatolia for thousands of years, and that Atatürk's revo- lutions represented a new synthesis and forward-looking breakthrough of these civilizati- ons from a contemporary perspective.The project of the deceased Şadi Çalık was the winner of the competition; it came first, while aproject of a young architect came second. According to the specifications of the competiti- on, the university committed to building and implementing only the first project. However, we liked the project (the second) we named "Tree of Science" so much that we decided to implement the two projects, the first and the second, together. The project of Şadi Çalık, ATATURK MONUMENT, was built behind the new President's Office building on the plain adjacent to Alley. The Tree of Science was also placed at the top of the flat hill on the right when you entered the campus. After these, we conti- nued to decorate the campus with artworks by building monuments, sculptures, etc. based on the projects drafted by Mr. Şadi and other artists. The construction costs of the Atatürk Memorial were covered by the money collected in a charity campaign we started among students, academic and administrative staff in the university. Thus, the METU community displayed its eternal gratitude and devotion to Atatürk by participating individually in the expenses of the Monument to be erected for him. The costs of other artworks built for the campus were financed from the university budget. The Tree of Science Sculpture remained in its first place for about 25 years. However, when the trees in the forest around grew and the monument could not be seen from a distance, the Tree of Science moved to a place on the immediate right of the university entrance gate. To be honest, it fits there well."

*Kemal Kurdaş – ODTÜ Yıllarım “Bir Hizmetin Hikayesi” – ODTÜ Geliştirme Vakfı Publications and Communications co. – Ankara, 1998 – Pages:139-140