Local residents of Turkish cities turn public stairs into rainbows

Source: sumrue, Instagram

On a warm August day, retired forestry engineer Huseyin Cetinel decided his downtown Istanbul neighbourhood could do with some extra colour. He immediately took action, bought 800 dollars worth of paint, and painted the public stairs in Findikli, which connect the trendy neighbourhood of Cihangir with a busy seaside road, all colours of the rainbow. At once, he became a local hero. People loved his work. However, the municipality didn’t seem to like Cetinel’s stairs very much, and painted them back to their original grey. They didn’t realise this act of power would unleash a major public drive to turn more public stairs in Turkey into urban rainbows…

“I didn’t do it for a group or as a form of activism. I did it to make people smile,” Cetinel told the Turkish media. Even so, many Turks did see the stairs in Findikli as a symbol for the gay rights movement and/or the spirit of uprising that has been roaming Turkey’s cities for months. From West to East and North to South, Turkish people have picked up their paint brushes and started transforming their local stairs as well. The rainbow stairs have become popular hangout spots, strenghtening communities and revitalising neighbourhoods. Even a newlywed couple showed up at the Findikli stairs to pose for their wedding photographs one day, saying this was the best setting for it in town.

This article was originally posted on Happy Streets

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