Last year, Turkish artist Zehra Doğan was imprisoned by the Turkish government for her painting of Nusaybin, a Turkish town destroyed by state security forces. She has 18 months left on her sentence. Now, on the corner of Houston Street and Bowery in downtown Manhattan, a new Banksy mural has popped up protesting the young artist’s imprisonment.
The 70-foot-long mural depicts the tally of days that Doğan has spent in prison, with a small drawing of the artist peering out from behind one set of tally marks. In the bottom right corner, “Free Zehra Doğan” is written. The painting that ended up imprisoning Doğan was projected above Banksy’s mural along with text reading, “Sentenced to two years, nine months and 22 days in jail for painting this picture.”
Doğan is also known for her work as a journalist, founding the feminist Kurdish news agency Jinha. In spite of the art being based off a real photo taken and distributed by the Turkish military, the artist was still sentenced. Borf, a fellow mysterious street artist, created the mural with Banksy. After her sentence, Doğan tweeted in a now-deleted post that she “was given two years and 10 months only because I painted Turkish flags on destroyed buildings. However, [the Turkish government] caused this. I only painted it.”
Banksy also created another New York City mural, this time of a scurrying rat on the clock of an old bank at 14th Street and Sixth Avenue.