Past Resident


Neba is a multidisciplinary researcher and designer. She is of paternal Tatar and Turkish, and maternal Albanian and Circassian descent. She desires to research and introduce spiritual methods and folk pieces from her ancestry and upbringing to her work. She uses variety of experiences and narratives as ‘expressions’ of herself to relate to the world that surrounds. Through data-driven art, meditations, stories and garments, she wants to introduce spaces and moments of intimacy to remind people of their own expression and truth and the silent gaps in between. The purest form of her motivation in her work is inspired by her quest: “Who am I? What is beauty and meaning? What is my truth, what lies beneath? What is my expression of self that is closest to my truth? What is my daily practice to make this expression free and unburdened in its quest? How can this expression continuously relate to itself and to the world with love, empathy, naïve curiosity and joy?”

Neba was born in a small town in the Black Sea Region of Turkey. After studying civil engineering in Turkey, she briefly attended graduate studies in Industrial Design and Information Systems. Because of her admiration and curiosity of cities sparked after she moved to US, she decided to study ‘cities’ in various contexts and completed her MS and PhD. Her professional work so far ranged from local economic development, informal economy, neighborhood revitalization, data visualization and information design for mission-oriented projects. She developed analytical strategies that support data-driven decision-making for public and private sector in more than 15 cities across the U.S. She was named as one of the ‘Best and Brightest’ young urban leaders working in the U.S. to improve cities at the 2010 Next American City Vanguard Conference. She thinks of herself as a ‘Scientific Humanist’ and desires to bring empathy and sweetness to the world of data and technology and in ways we see, perceive and interact with the world around us.

She studied meditation with David Harshada Wagner. She is one of the first trained ‘living meditation’ teachers. She had a very strong spiritual practice since she was very young due to her upbringing by her parents. She designs sensory meditational experiences using literature, sound, scents and visualizations.

She designs one-of-a-kind clothes and accessories which are customized uniquely to one individual and are inspired by their life stories. She sees her designs as tapestry of stories created to adorn the individual for specific purposes, love, protection and empowerment. She acquires her fabrics throughout her travels from bazaars, local shops and works with local artisans and tailors from her country.

She finished writing her first children’s story for grown-ups and currently working on illustrations with the illustrator Nicholas Nazmi. Her stories have a fairy tale sensibility and sense of wonder and innocence.

She loves to collaborate on various projects with other artists.

She and Carmen Bouyer are working on a yearlong project that is inspired by poetry and plants of New York City. They plan to open the project to the public in 2017.

Neba is a certified nutritionist and studied Living Foods Lifestyle at Ann Wigmore Health Institute. In December 2016, she started collaborating on the Turkish Recipe Reclamation Translation Project. The project focuses on translating forgotten recipes of Turkey collected and published by the wondrous chef Musa Dağdeviren, featured in New Yorker, The Atlantic and Food and Wine. Only a handful of recipes recovered by Musa Dağdeviren exist in English language. It is our desire to translate and introduce as many recipes as we could that exist in Musa Dağdeviren’s entire collection to the world. The collaborators also intend to cook these recipes and have communal gatherings to enjoy them together.