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News > Culture

Banksy Paints Jailed Turkish Artist, Anti-Capitalist Art in New York City

  • Close-up of the mural of the jailed Turkish artist in New York City

    Close-up of the mural of the jailed Turkish artist in New York City | Photo: Screenshot/ Banksy's official Instagram account

Published 18 March 2018

The mural on the Houston Bowery Wall features 272 black hash marks and a call to free Turkish-Kurdish artist. 

Banksy, the renowned artist known for his protest graffiti around the world, recently unveiled a 70ft-long mural highlighting a Kurdish-Turkish artist, who was sentenced to serve three years in prison last year for painting the plight of her village, in New York City. 

Turkey Seizes Afrin From Kurds amid Fears of 'Ethnic Cleansing' 

The mural which was painted in collaboration with graffiti artist Borf on the historic Houston Bowery Wall made popular by pop artist, Keith Haring in the 1980's, features 272 black hash marks and a call to free the Turkish-Kurdish artist.  

Zehra Doğan, an ethnic Kurd from Diyarbakır in southeastern Turkey, was sentenced to two years, 9 months, and 22 days for painting a Kurdish village being razed by Turkish security forces. The painting depicts the destroyed cityscape of Nusaybin, with Turkish flags draped across blown-out buildings.


Sentenced to nearly three years in jail for painting a single picture. #FREEzehradogan

A post shared by Banksy (@banksy) on

Doğan, who is an award-winning journalist and a member of the Union of Journalists of Turkey, said she was being persecuted for her journalistic endeavors after she was handed over the sentence.  

"I really feel for her. I’ve painted things much more worthy of a custodial sentence," Banksy told the Guardian. Expressing his solidarity, Banksy wrote "#FREEzehradogan" as he posted an image of the mural on Instagram.

In West Village, the U.K. artist known for painting anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist murals, painted a giant rat running inside the clockface atop the iconic bank building.   

Banksy also painted two other murals in Brooklyn and Harlem. One of the murals depicts a man in a suit wearing a construction hat cracking a whip over a group of running children and adults.

The whip in the suited man's hand is designed in the shape of a business graph. The second mural depicts a black seal balancing an orange ball on its nose, on a wall belonging to the closed gas station nearby. 

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