|"Joy comes to those bold enough to seek it." - Hasan Niyazi|
It has been two weeks since the day we lost Hasan Niyazi of 3PP and the silence is deafening...
When I refer to "we" I mean a huge community of people from various backgrounds and geographical locations, experts and amateurs alike, interested in anything from art, history, literature, science to gaming or even Star Wars, who had been lucky enough to cross paths with Hasan at some point in their lives. He met, befriended, and adopted us, becoming a part of our daily lives, spreading his relentless energy, unique vision and passion for art, knowledge and beauty. Yet most of us never even met him face to face or heard his voice, making this acute pain at his loss very complex and hard to explain.
I met Hasan through his blog and we started to correspond about a large spectrum of subjects including our mutual heritage. Being Turkish-American myself, we shared a common bond he once referred to "as people writing about art that is seen as something beyond our own cultural heritage." Hasan was obsessively interested in the Renaissance and especially Raphael, which he said was a testament that we could do anything and excel at it regardless of our cultural backgrounds. We were on a mission to prove the universality of art, probably more determined than any Western scholar could possibly be.
I looked upon Hasan as my mentor - the one who gave me my "first break." Before I met him, I was an art history lover, learning and writing about what interested me only for my own pleasure. The first time he asked me to contribute to his blog 3PP was a turning point in my career as a writer. I felt his encouragement and support at every step of the way, providing much needed aid, praise as well as constructive criticism on my work. No type of detail ever escaped his notice. He gave selflessly, sharing his skills, contacts, resources, ideas and most important of all his friendship generously, for this I will be forever indebted to him.
"Life is the Art of the Possible," a quote by one of Hasan's friends he had shared with me, embodied him perfectly. Hasan defied all our contemporary society's conventional concepts and labels used to identify and classify individuals and their relationships. Maybe it would be more befitting to simply say that he was the quintessential 21st century Renaissance Man - social media guru, tech-whiz, independent researcher, art-historian, who was also a communicator between academia and the public with a day-job as a health professional. His blog and social media presence were avenues where all his talents were employed in the pursuit of a higher ideal and all who came into contact with him were allowed to prosper in his glowing light.
I am finding it very difficult to express my thoughts and feelings on this devastating loss since on so many levels, it just does not make sense. Are there any proper words to describe a life cut short, a light estinguished just as it had begun to burn at its brightest? If there are, I must apologize for I cannot find them. Hasan left us too soon leaving a huge void where his presence should have been. Not a day goes by where I encounter a work of art, read an interesting article or run into some Renaissance related news that I don't feel the fleeting urge to share it with Hasan, to see what he thinks or just simply to share the excitement or beauty of it. I know there are a lot of other people out there who feel the same thing. Now, it seems the only thing we can do is to try to live up to his expectations by creating new content and making new connections. Rest in Peace my dear friend, your name and legacy are forever etched in our hearts.