The Seventh Continent: An Elaborate Inquiry into the Artist’s Mind

The Massive Garbage Dump in the Pacific Ocean, namely the Great Pacific Trash Area or the Pacific Trash Vortex, is 3.4 million square kilometers wide, weighing 7 million tons.

The 16th Istanbul Biennial this year takes its title from the Seventh Continent, one of the most visible results of global climate change.

ENKA Schools Literature and Art departments are organizing student trips this month to the Istanbul Biennial with an interdisciplinary approach in order to raise student awareness about the climate crisis, and to explore the relationship between nature and human beings from different artists’ perspectives.

The 16th Istanbul Biennial is a starting point to explore the current state of art in the face of ecological problems.¹ Artists take on the role of messengers voicing issues, mirroring the global problem of 7 million tons.

Our aim is that our students see that the artist’s approach and sensitivity in reflecting a problem to their works is the first step of their work.

Students can see that they, too, can create awareness when they adopt a mission in their focus by thinking like an artist during the creation process.

As part of the IB curriculum, our students will work on the Biennial in Art and Literature classes. In Art, students will reflect their work in Process Portfolios with the question  How would you approach the same subject?.

In Literature, they will write about the “The alienation of the individual from nature” using the different perspectives and statements they have experienced in the Biennial.

Some of our 12th Grade IB HL Literature students share their first impression of the Biennial:

“Urban life causes the individual to move away from the usual. Technology has become the control of people’s lives. In the Biennial, the effects of technology on our lives are explained in many works.” – Leyla Ö.

“In the Istanbul Biennial we came across some works about the alienation pit that we fell into, whether we wanted to or not, by living in the city.” – İdil E.

“The works of art in the Biennial show the human-nature relationship and alienation. It also tells us that the damage that people do to nature are actually damage to themselves.” – Ece K.

“Crowds can be too much. This crowd doesn’t have to be just a cramped and busy human mass. Sometimes we can feel like we’re stuck, even in an empty street under buildings. In today’s busy and fast-flowing city life, it is very difficult for a person to find himself/herself and express himself/herself as he wants, and when he wants, when he is so far away from nature and real, solid relationships. Every time we feel free, we actually see a new side of the boundaries that someone else offers us.” – İrem E.

“The person who doesn’t get the world he is in, and cannot identify it with himself/herself becomes alienated from society and wants her/his self-actualization. I had the chance to observe this situation at the Biennial. I can say that artists break away from nature and realize their own existence. This also includes postmodern understanding. The artists put the nature they feel belonged to in their works in an original way. Therefore, the technique has caused the visitors to interpret the works of the artists in a different way.” – Ali Yaman Ş.

“Although the mixed works in the exhibition were exhausting to look at, I was very interested in the messages of the works.” – Leyla C.


1. İstanbul Kültür Sanat Vakfı Yedinci Kıta. Retrieved from