On the corner of Houston Street and Bowery, in Manhattan, New York. At the center of the world, overexposed between politics, trends, current events. Last mid-March (we talked about it here), Banksy, working with the artist Borf, dedicated a huge mural to Zehra Doğan, a Kurdish journalist and painter, imprisoned for publishing drawings against the Turkish army. Against violence and abuses of an unequal force that, for three years now, has brought civilians and residents of Turkish Kurdistan to its knees, for a battle against the Kurdish Workers’ Party, the PKK.
The street artist with an unknown identity, has made several lines that refer to the classic system that the prisoners use to count the days of imprisonment and among these appears the face of the journalist, who has yet to turn 30, behind bars. In fact, one of the bars he holds is precisely the pencil, symbol of her art and her “guilt”.
Brushes and colors, her “weapons” that the Court of Appeal, after announcing the sentence of almost three years imprisonment in Diyarbakir (her hometown), decided to kidnap from the girl . Sleeping public opinion woke up after the mural by Banksy who openly expressed the violation of human rights: a detention for a painting, the one in which Zehra depicted the army tanks in the rubble of Nusaybin with animal figures from the teeth sharp and bleeding from whose jaws the soldiers come out.
Until March 2019, Zehra Doğan will have to stay in the cell. But physical deprivation, the prohibition of introducing books and pastels, has not “trapped” the girl’s artistic soul. Her strength, her desire to communicate to the world, continues thanks to her stubbornness: she continues to paint using newspaper clippings on which she draws horror through the liquid of drinks, foods, her menstrual blood. Suspended between the human and the inhuman, both her gestures and what she wants to tell, thinking of the Kurdish people.
«No artist turns his back on society; a painter must use his brush as a weapon against oppressors. Not even the Nazi soldiers accused Picasso because of his paintings: I, instead, are judging for my works», Zehra said in the past. Whether in a claustrophobic or crowded cell with dozens of people, the echo of her message goes out: from a small window, air and light come in and resistance and existence come out. The life of someone who doesn’t want to bend down.