People

The Art of Compassion: Metin Bereketli

In these times of conflict, anger and confusion, artist Metin Bereketli is trying to make a difference.

By Arwa Lodhi

Metin Bereketli is an internationally acclaimed artist whose work has appeared in some of the most prestigious galleries around the world, including the Smithsonian Institution and the Pacific Design Centre, as well as in the pages of Cosmopolitan, Maison Francaise and the New York Times.

Lauded by no less than three former American Presidents and celebrities including Jay Leno and James Caan, Bereketli dedicates the messages in his work to concepts we badly need to pay attention to now more than ever: human diversity and world peace.

Here in this exclusive interview, Metin Bereketli tells Eluxe about the wonder of birds, the purity of children  and the importance of eco-consciousness.

What is the earliest memory you have of being in nature?

I was born on the shores of the shimmering blue Aegean Sea in Izmir, Turkey and the natural splendor of my environment influenced the person I am today.  The spectacular colors of a thousand sunsets, blue-green seas and sparkling white sand changed my life forever.  I attempt to capture these colours in my artwork every day–it is my true passion to share this gift with the world.  Words alone cannot explain these splendors–only art can attempt to capture their glory.

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Has the natural world inspired your work, in any way?

I’ve always been drawn to the beauty of the sea.  The marine life and birds that live there bring such joy to my world.  Many of my paintings depict birds because I feel they hold the sacred spiritual significance of freedom.  Birds have the ability to walk on earth, float on water and soar in the air. They are thought  to be a symbol of ultimate earthly freedom; to be a creature that is of the air, land and water.

What’s the most positive thing you do for the environment in your daily life?

I believe eating natural foods grown organically is not only healthy but it also helps the environment.  By not adding any chemicals into the water supply and ground we help to protect the earth.  Small animals, birds and beneficial insects are also left unharmed.  Because organic farmers are continually adding organic matter to the topsoil we prevent erosion and it also helps to relieve the amount of waste in the landfills.

Mardi-Gras_Metin

What’s your greatest eco ‘sin’?

As I’ve gotten older I truly try my hardest to be “eco-conscious” but my greatest regret is that I haven’t been able to share my philosophy of stewardship on an expanded global level.  Getting the word out on what each person can do to contribute to the greater good would be a life-long dream fulfilled for me.

What would be your eco-friendly dream travel destination?

I would love to travel to all the Seven Wonders of the ancient world.  Seeing something that has been in existence for thousands of years would be so humbling.  Walking on the same ground, basking in the same warm sun and touching the same cool stone these ancient civilisations felt would be such a powerful and life altering experience.

blueflowers

What are you proudest of so far in your career?

I am most proud of my charitable work for children with disabilities.  Several times a year I sponsor workshops for these children in which I teach them how to paint with carefree exuberance.  It’s absolutely miraculous how uninhibited they become when given a paint brush.

I show them how to let go of all their fears and open their hearts and souls to this new found abandon. Their smiles and laughter bring me such pleasure and I am truly blessed to be able to bring them such happiness. Children are true artists. If  we allow children to express themselves with colours, with shapes, we can get closer to them because they are expressing their silence on paper or canvas.

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What are your favorite ‘green’ skincare, food, home or fashion brands?

I mainly use local organic products wherever I am.  Natural soaps and deodorants as well as skin moisturisers. I grow my own aloe that I use for bug bites, sunburn and wound care.  I think that it is very important to support organic farmers and “farm to table” businesses thus enabling me to limit my carbon footprint as much as possible.

Which high profile person trying to make a difference do you most admire, and why?

Bill Gates and Warren Buffet have both pledged to give away the vast majority of their wealth to humanitarian causes.  Their biggest donations are to help support world health.  This is something most us of take for granted but unfortunately much of the world suffers from severe lack of such basic needs as clean water, getting enough to eat and vaccinations against diseases. The foundations these men have created will give a future to people in dire need and who have had little hope until now.

When and where are you happiest?

Wherever I am at the moment–living life to its fullest is what makes me happy.  Experiencing life every day and finding joy in even the smallest things is true contentment.  Painting and creating art brings me the hope to bridge differences and connect people from different backgrounds and experiences; not only healing the wounds that are seen but healing the wounds that are felt deep within their souls.  This would be true happiness!

newsofpeace

For which cause would you die, if any?

I can’t imagine dying for a cause would be very helpful to anyone.  So I prefer to live life to the fullest–giving back to my community, making people smile, spreading love and light through my art.  This life is meant to be lived and cherished and that’s what I’m doing.

Which environmental issues are most important to you?

I feel very strongly about the importance of access to clean water.  This may sound simple to us but for many polluted water is a sad truth.  According to UNICEF over 3,000 children die every day worldwide due to contaminated drinking water and poor sanitation.  People like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet have helped bring this distressing fact to the forefront so more people with power, influence and funds can make these basic human necessities possible.

What’s the main thing you think we all need to do to ensure a better future?

I think if we can provide personal protection, education and health services to the world’s children we will be able to open their eyes to kindness of humankind. Children are our future hope for tolerance, understanding of universal diversity and freedom. Teaching children that they have the power to bring about change, ensuring all people the freedom of speech and expression, freedom of worship, freedom from want and the freedom from fear. What an incredible place we would live in if given these freedoms!

Chere Di Boscio

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27 Comments

  • Reply
    Nancy Jenkins
    Feb 3, 2015 at 11:59 pm

    Thank you for the email. I love some of the new pieces. He will always be a special friend!

    • Reply
      andrea shindler
      Feb 6, 2015 at 11:17 pm

      Metin Bereketi is a heart of gold. His work, his interview, his beautiful values, all speak to the elements so necessary to make the world a better place. Consistent with our common values, it would be a gift to have him represent the Foundation for Human Potential

  • Reply
    Joaquín Tello de Meneses Amparán
    Jun 30, 2018 at 5:33 pm

    A true nature caring, human loving and example of charity with purpose. This is what Metal is! We love his Art and cherish his work. I hope we cross paths again soon.

  • Reply
    Ninon de Vere De Rosa
    Jul 1, 2018 at 8:03 am

    My friend forever. One of the greatest men to cross my path; In love we trust…

  • Reply
    Joaquín Tello de Meneses Amparán
    Jul 1, 2018 at 8:05 am

    A true nature caring, human loving and example of charity with purpose. This is what Metin Bereketli is! We love his Art and cherish his work. I hope we cross paths again soon.

    • Reply
      Edward Lozzi
      Oct 26, 2019 at 2:07 am

      Terrific story from one of U.S. best artists.

  • Reply
    patricia
    Oct 27, 2019 at 5:43 am

    Exquisitely Intriguing and Intricate.

  • Reply
    Leila Logan
    Nov 3, 2019 at 2:59 pm

    Metin is a wonderful Human Being. He is very dedicated and passionate about Children’s charities. Besides being a very talented Artist he is always willing to lend a helping hand. I am very proud to call Metin my friend.

  • Reply
    Jennifer Mitchell
    Nov 8, 2019 at 1:15 pm

    My children and I have had the honor to call Metin our friend for roughly 20+ years. As I read the article I smiled thinking it really reflects Metin as I know him. I’m forever thankful for the time he spent with my son helping him with his soccer skills and our friendship that never got lost even in our busy lives. His art truly is a reflection of his spirit and heart.

  • Reply
    Delia
    Nov 16, 2019 at 7:46 am

    Best artist! And he is a wonderful Human Being!

  • Reply
    Pascale Fortunat
    Nov 16, 2019 at 5:38 pm

    Metin is a true inspiration… a renaissance man living his life with passion. I hope we’ll get to work together again soon.

  • Reply
    Stacey and Ron Buchhorn
    Nov 16, 2019 at 6:21 pm

    An interesting and talented artist with compassion and genuine interest in helping people. We are happy to have you as a friend Metin! Stacey and Ron

  • Reply
    Cheryl J. Kagan
    Nov 18, 2019 at 11:26 am

    Metin Bereketi’s artwork is filled with bright color, compassion , spirituality and love. You could say the same thing about this multi-talented artist. He deeply cares about children, the planet and living a healthy lifestyle. His pieces are as easily recognizable as Peter Max and Andy Warhol. All three use wonderfully bright colors and their works makes you smile. Continue on your wonderful journey of discovery!

  • Reply
    Rukhsana’s Wellness & Heavenly Retreat
    Nov 19, 2019 at 4:44 pm

    Metin is a beautiful human being and we are grateful he is our soul brother and dear friend of ours. His work is inspiring and perfectly displays the kindness and compassion Metin carries within himself. We are so honoured to have his work displayed at our Center and cherish all that he has done for us and the world.

  • Reply
    Shirley Tyler
    Nov 29, 2019 at 8:41 pm

    Metin contacted me with an offer to allow me to use his art, pro bono, for the benefit of the Leukemia Society of America about 25 years ago. And so, began a beautiful friendship. His art is beautiful, his heart is beautiful and he’s not hard to look at either. He and his art, are an inspiration in giving for everyone to enjoy.

    • Reply
      Chere
      Nov 30, 2019 at 10:38 pm

      How wonderful!

  • Reply
    Fred Griffith
    Dec 2, 2019 at 5:32 am

    Metin is an amazing artist with his very unique style. We have multiple pieces in our home and we always get great compliments and questions about the art work. Besides he is very special and caring friend.

  • Reply
    Dr. Lauren Brim
    Dec 2, 2019 at 7:26 pm

    Love your message and work!

  • Reply
    Christine Marcelli
    Dec 3, 2019 at 2:00 am

    Amazing artist and human being!

  • Reply
    Valentina X Valencia
    Dec 3, 2019 at 10:34 pm

    Metin, is an incredible artist and an extraordinary soul.

  • Reply
    G Gephart
    Dec 4, 2019 at 9:15 pm

    Wonderful works from a wonderful artist/person doing wonderful things!

  • Reply
    Sarah
    Dec 6, 2019 at 10:15 pm

    Beautiful work! Thank you for all you do!

  • Reply
    Carmen
    Dec 8, 2019 at 9:55 pm

    I´m happy to know about you, you are so great artist and you have a wonderful heart.

  • Reply
    Matthew Jacobs
    Dec 13, 2019 at 5:08 am

    Metin is the best! So kind and full of strength.

  • Reply
    Anita
    Dec 14, 2019 at 11:36 pm

    You’re such a talent,beautiful work!!!

  • Reply
    Clifton Truman Daniel
    Dec 17, 2019 at 8:23 pm

    Even before he became an artist, Metin worried less about himself and more about what was going on with the people around him. Always rare, especially today.

  • Reply
    David Lawrence Dewey
    Dec 20, 2019 at 7:17 am

    I first wrote about Metin in 1998 when I presented him with my Angels Award.

    What many don’t know about Metin is his tireless work for the Children’s Leukemia Foundation and the National Conference on Women and HIV. In June, 1997, he received the Paramount Pictures, Triumphs Award for outstanding service to others. He work has been donated to raise funds for the Los Angeles Children’s Hospital Research Institute, Leukemia Society of America, Motion Picture and Television Fund, UCLA Medical Center, Cedar-Sinai Medical Center, Y.W.C.A., Kaiser Permanente, Jack Webb Awards for the Los Angeles Police Community Education Fund, Young Musicians Foundation, American Diabetes Foundation, The Unit Way, The Visions Awards Stop Blindness Campaign, Switzer Center. He has also generously donated his work to the Aids Project Los Angeles for their magazine, Positive Living. He is shy about accepting such awards because he feels what he does needs to be done, “simple as that” as he puts it.

    Many celebrities have recognized not only his artistic talent but his tireless effort in helping children with leukemia. Your a special person in my book when you help children.

    Although I retired from writing in 2013, my website is still up.

    You can read more about Metin on my website here:

    http:://www.dldewey.com/metin.htm

    Metin, keep up your tireless work for children in need. I wish there were
    more people like you. If there was, the world would be even a better place.

    David Lawrence Dewey
    Author/Syndicated Columnist
    * Over 175 million Readers Worldwide from 1993 to 2013
    * The first journalist in 1994 to write and warn consumers of the
    health dangers of hydrogenated oils with updates through the years.
    * David Lawrence Dewey was recognized by TV news anchor Diane Sawyer as the “Grandfather”
    of the hydrogenated oils movement to remove the deadly oils from the food supply.
    Hydrogenated Oils-Silent Killers
    http://www.dldewey.com/hydroil.htm
    * Dewey has won many journalistic awards through the years and his
    work on the documentary “InGREEDients” won 5 film awards in 2009.

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