In an Instagram post, Banksy announced he received a letter from imprisoned Turkish-Kurdish artist and journalist Zehra Doğan.
Doğan thanks Banksy for his New York mural that drew attention to her imprisonment.
On March 24, 2017, authorities sentenced Doğan to two years and ten months in prison. Her crime: creating a painting of a Turkish city damaged by state security forces, according to PEN America.
As a result, Doğan was charged with having connections to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The PKK is fighting an insurgency against the Turkish government.
Before her imprisonment, Doğan founded a feminist Kurdish news agency staffed entirely by women that publishes articles in English, Turkish, and Kurdish. In addition, she won the Metin Göktepe Journalism Award for her articles on Yazidi women escaping from ISIS in 2015.
On the first anniversary of Doğan’s imprisonment, Banksy and Borf painted a mural on the Bowery Wall in New York City. The mural features tally marks for each of the days she had been in prison. Doğan’s face is behind one section of the tally marks, as though behind prison bars. In her left hand instead of a prison bar is a pencil.
The mural is underneath a rotating series of images of the original Turkish military image and Doğan’s painting.
Doğan called Banksy’s mural “the best reply to the crooked regime that can’t even tolerate a painting.”
“With your support, my painting now accomplished its mission of showing the atrocities,” she wrote.
According to the Artists at Risk Connection, she founded a newspaper with other prisoners. However, she is barred from receiving letters that are not written in Turkish.
In an statement to the New York Times, Banksy said, “I really feel for her. I’ve painted things much more worthy of a custodial sentence.”
Read the full letter below: