Born in Istanbul in Turkey in 1976, Ergun studied acting at İstanbul University, Classical Greek literature at King‘s College, London and History of Art at İstanbul Bilgi University. After collaborating with the American theatre director Robert Wilson, he became involved in contemporary art, video and performance. His work has been exhibited in Istanbul, Paris, Amsterdam, Helsinki, Tel Aviv, Luxembourg, Heidelberg, Winterthur and Athens. He is currently writing his PhD thesis at Freie University Berlin on the wedding rituals of the Turkish-German community in the city.
The Battle of Karbala was a military engagement that took place on October 10, 680 in Karbala, between the forces of Yazid I, the Umayyad caliph and Hussein, the grandson of prophet Muhammad. Hussein and his supporters were killed; women and children were taken as prisoners. Central to Shi’a Muslim belief, the martyrdom of Hussein is mourned by an annual commemoration, called Ashura. Artist Köken Ergun worked in close collaboration with the people of Zeynebiye, the Istanbul neighbourhood referring to Hussein’s courageous sister Zeyneb, documenting their preparations for the 2010 Ashura ceremonies.