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Secil Yaylali _ collect-ive-ing_ stencil Aarhus.JPG



2016-on going

Aarhus and Copenhagen (Denmark), Santiago de Chile (Chile)


Collect-ive-ing is a visual research project that deals with the feelings of longing and belonging whıch are transferred to logograms from the drawings of the post migrants of the cities


Collect-ive-ing is an ongoing project focusing on the feelings of longing and belonging of people who have relocated to other cities, countries, or continents. It takes place in different peculiar contexts and it develops along with several groups of people. It uses the logograms/logographs, graphic characters that represent a word or morpheme in some written languages, to visually express and describe people’s identities originated from their emotions and memories of their homes and homelands.

Logograms emerge through a series of meetings, by a collective process of getting to know each other, sharing stories and personal experiences. During these workshops, participants are asked about their feelings of longing and belonging and how they would symbolize them: each contribution is then translated into a drawing and associated with a representative word.

Seçil Yaylalı later reworks the sketches into logograms and puts them all together to create a new alphabet, that is visual and cultural, inasmuch as it has originated from peculiar locations and their inhabitants. The characters are gathered together, aiming at reflecting the heterogeneity and richness of the communities and realities where they come from. Once assembled, the alphabet is free to circulate inside the society as a common tool of communication actively originated by its members. 

So far, Collect-ive-ing has developed within two different and complex cultural geographic areas.


Collect-ive-ing Aarhus, Denmark


with the support of Sigrids Stue and rum46 

installation production supported by SAHA and installation supported by the board of the residents of Gellerup

produced with the support of Godsbanen and Wedofablab Omegna 

material: Plexiglass, neon lights

The first logograms have been created in Gellerup, a neighborhood of Aarhus where more than a hundred different cultures live together. It was constructed during the 1970s and it is a remarkable example of concrete-modernist architecture and one of the largest housing projects in Denmark. It is partly self-sufficient for what it concerns public and private services, from markets and shops to schools and public transportation.

For the last few years, the area has been ranked as a “ghetto” by the national government, in the context of the so-called “ghetto act”, a set of laws and amendments aimed at radically changing low-income public housing areas. This has implied, among many other things, the application at many levels of specific rules and significant restrictive measures on the lives of its inhabitants. Gellerup has an extremely strong and rich cultural identity, considering the heterogeneity of its residents, who keep being tightly connected to their original cultures.

Collect-ive-ing engaged with a group of people from Somalia, Iran, Iraq, Indonesia, Kurdistan, Denmark, Turkey, Palestine, Lebanon, and Sweden, who discussed their idea of home and the concept of homeland. What and how would they define their home and where would they situate it, considering that the majority are second or even third-generation migrants?

The generated alphabet was reproduced on a series of plexiglass stencils later given to the project participants, as tools for the potential reproduction and circulation of their visual language. Copies of the very same pieces were exhibited at Rum46, Aarhus, together with a serigraphy frame reproducing the logographs, which gave visitors the chance to participate by using them to draw and print on their textiles.

Nine of the thirty-two total logographs were selected in collaboration with the art association Sigrids Stue to be set up as a big-size neon installation on the top of the walls of two residential buildings on Karen Blixens Blvd., in the center of Gellerup, as a symbol of the enduring cultural richness of the district.


Santiago de Chile, Chile, 2019

realized in the context of Trans-making Erasmus+

production supported by Wedofablab Omegna



The second time Collect-ive-ing was developed in Santiago de Chile in collaboration with a group of women of the Mapuche indigenous community. They had arrived in the capital city years before, after having to leave their settlements along the Biobío river in southern Chile, and partly in Patagonia and Argentina as well, in search of job opportunities and better economic conditions. The Mapuche represent a strong subculture of Chile, deeply attached to its traditional heritage and its lands, of which it has been dramatically expropriated by the state over the years. This community gathers different groups that share the same social, religious, and economic structures, as well as the same language. Being a strong agricultural-based society, it also acts as one of the few precious sources of agricultural biodiversity in Chile, where monoculture is depriving many species of space. 

Secil Yaylalı met them at the ceremonial center Mapuche Kintu Rayen, on the occasion of a ceremony held with the presence of their spiritual leader ​​Machi Jose Luis Nahuelcura. Right after the ritual, the artist and the women started working together, investigating what they were missing the most, what they were longing for, and where they thought they belonged. The new logograms took form by recalling memories and experiences from childhood and the wanted lands. Afterward, their alphabet was reproduced on plexiglass stencils that were given to them.


Logogram  for the New World


for “Cosmogony of the new world”, curated by Olga Gambari

organised by Paratissima 

material: pvc


Logogram for the New World puts together some logograms developed by the artist between 2016 and 2021, in collaboration with different groups of people in various contexts, within her projects Collect-ive-ing, Art-On, Logogrammi di Pandemia, and Botanica Emozionale. In particular, these characters were created with the inhabitants of Gellerup, one of the multicultural neighborhoods of Aarhus (Denmark), with a group of women of the indigenous Mapuche community in Santiago de Chile (Chile), with the locals of Montrigiasco and Mercurago (Arona, Italy), with the artist’s family during the first Covid-19 lockdown in Ameno (Italy), and with students from the primary school in Santa Vittoria d'Alba (Italy).

Logograms originated through a collective process of sharing memories, personal experiences, stories, and emotions, that were then translated into a visual form. 

The resulting graphic signs stand for the ethical and virtuous actions or feelings adoptable daily in any part of the world, both on an individual and collective level, concerning human relationships and the natural environment. Together, these logograms make up a collective visual and cultural alphabet, which can be understood and employed universally: an alphabet for a new possible world.

Logogram for the New World was printed on a gigantic PVC sphere installed inside Porta Nuova station of Turin, Italy, as part of the collective exhibition "Cosmogony of the new world”, curated by Olga Gambari.

they draw and renamed the single elements from their drawings. The drawings reorganized by the artist are turned into a series of symbols. All of them came together and created a new logography in a stencils format.

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