Suat VERAL, born in 1966 in Ortaköy district of Istanbul. He is married and a father of three children. From early childhood he had started to learn the art of ‘Karagöz and Hacivat’ shadow theater presentation from the Karagöz master (at the same time his brother) Tevfik VERAL.
Suat’s 37 years long career of undertaking a cultural mission of preserving and presenting the traditional Turkish shadow-theater, which originated in 14 c. He had started with depictions of Karagöz stories and with time it had developed into full time job earning him the title of Hayali that the Karagöz master receives.
In addition to the techniques that Suat’s brother had taught him, he had begun his career with the most important part of the job by making the Karagöz character figures and stage sets from scratch and over time he was able to produce an entire shadow-theater by himself. As a result of research that he had done throughout his career and for the love of his profession he had made significant contributions into improvement of the traditional Karagöz.
Among his works, for example, is his innovative idea of distributing the Karagöz and Hacivat character figurines that he had been making for years from scratch from leather (close to 20,000 pieces) with the purpose to share with people and also to remind them to be proud of the traditional heritage of this shadow-theater.
Under the Ministry of Culture, the agency DÖSİMM (Central Directorate for Operating Circulating Capital Fund) have made these character figurines available for public in their stores and websites.
Together with the increase of the public interest and audience in Karagöz and Hacivat art of shadow-theater Suat Veral had brought the show into big performance halls as well. For the first time in Turkey he was the first to enlarge the size of the Karagöz characters up to 1 meter so that the audience in the large halls can comfortably view the shadow-theater. He named this project ‘The Giant Shadows’, which was presented to the public for the first time on March 27, 2011 on the World Theatre Day.
Suat Veral had received many awards and appreciation for dedicating his life and for his significant contribution in research, development and preservation of the Karagöz the Shadow Theater as a branch of the Traditional Turkish Arts for the next generations.
To protect Karagöz from ‘extinction’ he has been adopting the classic repertoire to our days by presenting it not only locally but also internationally with active participation in relevant events. He especially focuses on introducing this art form to our children, who are to inherit this cultural tradition for the future generations.
For his work and success in the traditional art of Karagöz, and for his experience in earning recognition from significant institutions for his profession, Suat Veral had received an official title of a national artist registered with the General Directorate for Research and Education under the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Turkey.
In addition, he is also registered artist with the UNIMA-France (http://www.unima.org/en/unima/presentation/ ) branch in Ankara.
The depiction of The Yoghurt Man made by Suat Veral was used for the cover of the book “The Yogurt Man Cometh” by American writer Kevin Revolinski, which was written based on his memories during his life in Istanbul.
The Shadow Theater Karagöz been traditionally voiced by male Hayali until recently, when Suat Veral had announced that he has been training his niece Merve İlken as the first female Karagöz Hayali. Since the mothers play an important role in raising children, Suat Veral believes that it is necessary to pave the way to the young girls and mothers in general to learn more about the traditional art of Karagöz.
Nowadays, in the era of not only children but also adults adhering to technology and television, Suat Veral has found a solution to promote and to enjoy the Karagöz in our country by his recent achievement of getting an approval to produce the Karagöz in 3D format film. All the depictions belonging to Suat Veral will be used in the upcoming Karagöz animation, which will be realized in collaboration with the producer and the director Sinan Haliç.
With the support of the Pendik District Municipality, Suat Veral had placed his signature on another milestone by presenting the Karagöz shadow-theater to the children of the 60th National Education School in Pendik. With comic stories of Karagöz and Hacivat he has introduced the Turkish culture to children in an entertaining way.
Suat Veral has been teaching the traditional art of Karagöz production to the students of Performing Arts Center within the framework of the Ministry of Culture under the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality projects, which will help him to realize his plans of popularizing Karagöz not only among children but also among the youth of Turkey.
The students of Performing Arts Center have prepared the “Crazy Dumrul” shadow-theater for their year-end activities, where the production and many depictions were used that entirely belonged to Suat VERAL. He was very happy to have contributed to the youth and to the theater through Traditional Turkish Shadow Theater.
The Traditional Turkish Shadow Theater continues to make efforts with the purpose of reminding and promoting our culture also to the Turks living abroad, and to the entire world as well. Karagöz hayali Suat Veral is honored to work on his endeavors to promote our culture through Karagöz, which he has been already doing by visiting Canada, U.S.A., Britain, France and many other neighboring countries that he travelled to for the fairs, festivals, schools and cultural centers around the world.
Currently Suat Veral continues to work on his other numerous Karagöz projects.
Artist of the under the Ministry of Culture
Cultural Heritage Carrier under the Ministry of Culture and Tourism
Master of the Traditional Turkish Shadow Theater Karagöz and Hacivat