Banksy Returns to Protest Turkish Artist’s Imprisonment

Banksy has returned with his first work since 2013, protesting the imprisonment of Turkish artist Zehra Dogan.

Banksy has unveiled a 21 metre mural in protest of the imprisonment of the Turkish-Kurdish artist and journalist Zehra Dogan, on the corner of Houston Street and Bowery Street in New York City.

Dogan is currently serving a three-year prison sentence for painting a depiction of the destruction of the Kurdish town of Nasyabin, which was reduced to rubble after an attack by the Turkish Government. She shared her painting on social media and was then arrested and sentenced to prison.

Banksy’s latest work is a collection of harsh black tally marks that represent prison cell bars and also track the number of days Dogan has spent in behind bars. One of the ‘cells’ depicts Dogan holding onto the bars from inside, and one of those bars is a pencil. ‘Free Zehra Dogan’ is written in the bottom corner of the mural.

banksy returns

In a statement the anonymous artist said “I really feel for her. I’ve painted things much more worthy of a custodial sentence.”

Dogan’s painting is dark and smoke fills the air while bright Turkish flags fly above the town which is a jumbled mess of rock, showing tanks in the foreground.

The curator of the Houston Bowery wall released a statement that said “We stand alongside every artist who chooses to use his or her creative abilities to highlight human rights issues.”

The British artist’s work has taken the spot where the likes of Keith Haring, Os Gemeos and JR have previously been displayed. In uptown New York another Banksy appeared; a rat running inside a clock on the former bank building that is soon to be demolished. This is Banksy’s first work since 2013 and it is unknown how long he will stick around for this time.

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