Banksy mural backs jailed Turkish artist Zehra Dogan

Banksy in downtown Manhattan protests the imprisonment of Zehra Dogan. Credit Tony Cenicola  The New York Times

British street artist Banksy has unveiled his latest work - a 70ft long mural in NY dedicated to Turkish artist Zehra Dogan who has been jailed for two years for painting a picture.

It seems somebody has added a signature tag to his artful protest of the imprisonment of a Turkish artist and journalist. The 70-foot-long mural, which sits at the corner of Houston Street and the Bowery in downtown Manhattan, features a tally of days that Turkish artist and journalist Zehra Doğan has spent in prison.

Banksy's mural has been timed to coincide with the anniversary of Dogan's first year in custody, and alongside the artwork is a call for her release.

Dogan, was convicted last March.

Banksy's tribute shows hash marks that represent jail bars and the number of days that Dogan has been in jail. In the painting Turkish flags can be seen flying above the rubble of buildings.

She argued she made the painting as a journalist but was charged with being connected to Kurdistan Workers' Party, which has been battling the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. However, they [Turkish government] caused this. I've painted things much more worthy of a custodial sentence, ' Banksy said in a statement to the paper. "I just painted it", Dogan is quoted as saying on her personal website. The group is now fighting against the Turkish government. She has not allowed her imprisonment to keep her from her journalistic pursuits, having set up the newspaper Özgür Gündem Zindan (Free Agenda Dungeon) alongside other women from within prison. The art is based on an actual photo taken and distributed by the Turkish military, and yet the artist was sentenced by the Second High Criminal Court of Mardin province. "It is very clear that this painting is against the operations that were conducted as a result of the PKK terrorist organization's barricade and trench policy, which undoubtedly includes violence and force".

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