Zeki Kocamemi was born in 1900 in Fatih, Istanbul. His father, Mahmut Rasim, was an inspector for the Ministry of Evkaf, the institution responsible for the administration of foundations. The author and politician Hamdullah Suphi Tanrıöver was Zeki Kocamemi’s uncle. He entered the Academy of Fine Arts in 1916, attending the preparatory grade under Hikmet Onat. From 1918 until he graduated in 1922, he worked in İbrahim Çallı’s studio, also participating in the Galatasaray Exhibitions throughout this time. In 1922, he was sent by the Turkish Hearth to study painting in Munich, where he attended the studios of Heinemann and Hans Hofmann. He returned from Munich in 1927. The same year, he briefly taught painting at the Trabzon High School, before moving back to Istanbul in 1928. In 1929, he was among the founding members of the Association of Independent Painters and Sculptors. In 1930, he began to work as an assistant in the Department of Interior Design at the Academy of Fine Arts. Then in 1933, he was appointed as the In-House Architect and Furniture Assistant of the Academy. He became the assistant to Léopold Lévy, who was made head of the Painting Department from 1937 to 1949. In 1939 his painting titled Atatürk’s Funeral Procession won first prize at the First State Painting and Sculpture Exhibition. He took part in exhibitions held by the d Group in the 1930s and 1940s. In 1945 he opened his own studio in the Painting Department at the Academy, and held this position until his death in 1959.
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