Mehmed Özçay was born in 1961 in the Çaykara district of the province of Trabzon, in Turkey. He completed his elementary and secondary education in Gerede, subsequently graduating from the School of Theology of Atatürk University, Erzurum, in 1986. He studied naskh and thulth scripts with the calligrapher Fuat Başar, whom he met there in 1982. In 1986, he moved to İstanbul where he met M. Uğur Derman, who became his guide in calligraphy; this gave him the opportunity to broaden his horizons and deepen his appreciation for, and knowledge of, this art.
In 1986 and 1989, Özçay participated in the first two international calligraphy competitions organized by the Research Centre for Islamic History, Art and Culture (IRCICA), winning six prizes in various categories, most notably First Prize in thulth-naskh scripts. He began to copy the Holy Qur’an in 1986; completed in 1991 and first published in 1992, that work has played a key role in the development of his mastery of naskh script, and more generally in the establishment of his career as a professional calligrapher. Fine art reproductions of his copy of the Surat Ya-Sin, as well many of his panels, have also been published.
Özçay participated in many exhibitions, both in Turkey and internationally—including the Kazema Festival for Islamic Heritage (Kuwait, 1996), the Islamic World Calligraphy Festival (Tehran, 1997), Seven Ottoman Arts that have Lived Beyond 700 Years (İstanbul, 1999), the Riyadh Calligraphy Exhibition (1999), the Holy Qur’an Exhibition (Tehran, 2000), the National Calligraphy Festival (Tunis, 2001), the Tokyo Calligraphy Exhibition (2003), Salam & Calligraphy (Doha, 2003), the Sharjah International Biennal for Arabic Calligraphy (2004), the Dubai International Calligraphy Exhibitions (2004, 2005, 2006), and the Tunis Arabic Calligraphy Days (1999, 2006).
Mehmed Özçay’s first individual show was held in conjunction with his brother Osman Özçay and his sister Fatma Özçay in May 1996 at the Yıldız Palace, İstanbul. He subsequently partook in the “Özçay” exhibitions at the National Culture Foundation (İstanbul, 1998), in Doha (November 1998), Abu Dhabi (December 1998), Sharjah (1999), and Dubai (2003). He has also served as a member of the jury in a number of international calligraphy competitions.
More than 300 of Mehmed Özçay’s calligraphic panels in jali thulth, thulth, naskh, ijazah, and jali diwani scripts are currently in various collections both in Turkey and abroad.
Text/Photograph © Mehmed Özcay. http://www.ozcay.com/
JOC provides access to these materials for educational and research purposes and makes no warranty with regard to their use for other purposes.The written permission of the copyright owners and/or holders of other rights (such as publicity and/or privacy rights) is required for distribution, reproduction, or other use of protected items beyond that allowed by fair use or other statutory exemption.