TAMUK art professor Charles Wissinger is known for his ceramic work but has never considered it work.
“I have worked all of my life, but I never felt like I was working. It’s never been about the money,” Wissinger said.
Wissinger was invited in September last year to represent the United States and show his ceramic talents in the celebration of Piri Reis, ottoman sailor and cartographer.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and Foundation for Environmental Education in Anatolia (ANACEV) hosted a symposium marking the 500th anniversary of the first world map produced by Piri Reis in 1513.
Reis created the map by integrating the knowledge of the sailors traveling all over the world and by using their skills in mathematics and geometry.
UNESCO wanted ceramic artists to create their different perspectives of Reis’ world map.
They chose one talented artist to represent each part of the world. Out of thousands of artists in the U.S., Wissinger was chosen.
They wanted someone to represent the Americas, and they picked me,” Wissinger said.
Wissinger was sent to Canakkale, Turkey in September of last year, where he and the 13 other ceramic artists had two weeks to create two pieces of their interpretation of the first world map.
“I went over there and had no idea what I was going to do, but when you’re working with the best in the world you better have something and do it,” Wissinger said.
The artists finished their pieces and were then invited in November for the art exhibition in Rome at the Turkish Embassy.
“It was life changing; it floored me when I was first invited,” Wissinger said, “I wish a lot more people could do that. That’s what higher education should be about. Don’t be afraid just dive in.”