Born in Bursa, Şefik Bursalı entered the Academy of Fine Arts in 1921. He studied under İbrahim Çallı, Hikmet Onat, Namık İsmail, Hüseyin Avni Lifij, and Feyhaman Duran. While he was still a student, he was invited to take part in the exhibitions held by the Association of Turkish Painters, which was founded by his instructors at the Academy. Graduating in first place in 1930, he passed the scholarship examination to study in Europe and went to Paris to continue his education. He returned in 1934, and taught painting at high schools in Istanbul, Izmir and Konya. Between 1937-1938, he took part in exhibitions of contemporary Turkish painting that were held abroad at Atatürk’s behest. His works were exhibited in several Soviet cities including Moscow, Leningrad, and Kyiv; as well as in Bucharest, Belgrade, Athens, and Paris. These exhibitions later continued in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Austria. He was appointed to the Academy of Fine Arts in 1938 and worked there as a painting instructor until retiring in 1968. Continuing to work independently after his retirement, Şefik Bursalı won awards at the State Painting and Sculpture Exhibitions of 1966, 1973, 1980, and 1982. He also received the Art and Culture Grand Prize from the Ministry of Culture in 1986. In 1987, he was given the title of professor by Mimar Sinan University.
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