Painting with honey, fruits, and blood

Zehra Doğan knew she may want to get arrested if she went to Nusaybin, Turkey. She was warned.

After three years of peace negotiations, the 40-12 months-lengthy conflict between Turkey and the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) had damaged out once more in the south-jap place in 2015, and Nusaybin – located at the Turkish-Syrian border – become stuck in the crossfire. Some three,000 civilians misplaced their lives.

‘In our lands, we got used to demise due to the fact we’ve got seen lots of people die – parents and spouse and children,’ Doğan tells New Internationalist, speakme through a translator.


The metropolis of Nusaybin (populace 80,000) is presently below army siege and a strict curfew is in location. Since 2015, when battle commenced once more, the Turkish government has shut down ratings of Kurdish media, institutions, language faculties and cultural institutions.

The best reviews at the vicinity covered the Turkish navy’s aspect and Zehra Doğan, a Kurdish journalist working for Jinha – a feminist girls-best news organization reporting within the Kurdish language – desired to file the other side.

‘I’m from humans whose language and identification are rejected with the aid of the [Turkish] state,’ she says.

On the Independent, she wrote: ‘If I did no longer go, I would have been leaving my humans on their own. Their memories could by no means had been heard.’

Ways of seeing

But when Doğan changed into arrested in July 2016 it wasn’t for her journalism, however for a painting.

Believing that the arena didn’t understand Kurdish humans, conduct and culture, she painted scenes of traditional life and of local girls in vivid colors in her spare time. And when she found out Jinha’s reporting was being not noted or censored on mainstream media, she used to portray to record what she noticed and published her paintings on social media. Her pix provided the lacking Kurdish angle and shortly began to be shared broadly.

The maximum famous artwork reproduced a real photo of army presence in Nusaybin, however with a twist: the military tanks had been was ravenous civilian-consuming monsters.

After her arrest, witnesses testified in court that she turned into a member of an illegal organization – for which she became all at once placed into prison and saved in pre-trial detention.
Life inside

While in confinement, Doğan’s paintings located new lifestyles. She observed the Turkish prisons to be teeming with lifestyles: Turkey was arresting Kurdish newshounds on the grounds that 2015, however after a failed coup strives in July 2016, lecturers, reporters and activists across us of an additionally ended up at the back of bars. Using sweeping emergency powers and anti-terrorism legal guidelines, the government arrested over 60,000 humans in 2016 on my own, managed social media and shut down vital newspapers.

‘So many newshounds who had memories to inform had been in jail,’ she says. ‘And their public changed into also in prison.’ So, it made sense to determined a newspaper there. Doğan amassed memories approximately female political prisoners, human rights abuses and published comment pieces on a DIY guide. Because no photos will be taken, she painted – using supplies sent to her from supporters outside the prison partitions.

The Turkish government did no longer take this form of activism gently. In September, they raided cells hoping to discover press machinery and evidence of who was printing the newspaper. However, they have been unsuccessful – everything had been executed via hand.

After the raids, Doğan and the prisoners ran another difficulty of the newspaper. Zehra recollects the front-web page headline: ‘Although we’re captive, we’re nonetheless after you’.

People out of doors prison also sent Doğan canvases, brushes and paints – the use of them to train different woman prisoners a way to paint. They drew their own scenes and impressions of the way girls have been being mistreated on each day basis.

In December 2016, Doğan’s trial ended. There becomes no conviction and she or he become released. But the truce didn’t ultimate lengthy: she was arrested once more in March 2017 and sentenced to almost three years for ‘propagandizing for a terrorist company’, a price that quantities to nothing more than posting her paintings on social media.

Margie Willis

Unable to type with boxing gloves on. Wannabe tv scholar. Friendly twitter expert. Introvert. Food nerd. Devoted creator. Student. Basketball fan, tattoo addict, hiphop head, Bauhaus fan and typography affectionado. Making at the sweet spot between modernism and purpose to create not just a logo, but a feeling. Check me out on Dribbble or Medium.

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