Mehmed Ali Laga
Mehmed Ali Laga was born in Tripoli. While studying at the Kuleli Military Senior High School, he took his first painting lessons from Hasan Rıza, Hüseyin Zekâî Paşa’s brother. He later became a student of Osman Nuri Paşa and Hoca Ali Rıza. In 1896 he entered the Ottoman Military College. When he graduated with the rank of lieutenant in 1898, he was appointed to a post in Tripoli. In 1906, he was reassigned to Istanbul, working in the painting department of the Staff of the First Army. From 1909 onwards, he took part in the activities of the Society of Ottoman Painters along with his classmate from the Kuleli Military Senior High School and fellow painter, Sami Yetik. In 1911, he was appointed as a painting instructor at Kuleli. When the First Balkan War broke out in 1912, he served as a captain in Edirne, then took the position of the sketch artist for the Edirne fortified position. He was taken prisoner with Sami Yetik in 1913 and taken to Sofia. Released a year later, he returned to his teaching position at the Kuleli High School. With the outbreak of the First World War, he was made sketch artist for the fortified position in Gallipoli between 1914-1918. In 1918, his works were exhibited in Vienna in the exhibition titled War Paintings and Others, featuring paintings produced in the Şişli Studio, even though he had not taken part in the studio itself. He also participated in the Galatasaray Exhibitions during this period and was appointed as an art teacher at the Bursa Military High School in 1924. He retired in 1930, becoming a member of the Association of Fine Arts and the Society of Retired Officer-Painters, contributing paintings to their exhibitions.
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