NEW YORK CITY – The famous Bowery wall in New York now boasts a Banksy original.
The 70-foot long mural protests the imprisonment of Zehra Dogan and is a collaboration with street writer Borf. Dogan is a Turkish advocate and journalist imprisoned for a painting she did of a battle.
Officials sentenced Dogan in May 2017 to nearly three years. The painting depicts a Turkish city damaged by state security forces. Officials claimed Dogan had connections to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party.
During her trial, Doğan argued her art was a painting based on a photo taken by the Turkish military. Following her sentencing, she tweeted: “I was given two years and ten months only because I painted Turkish flags on destroyed buildings. However they caused this. I only painted it.” The tweet has since been deleted.
The mural appeared in conjunction with the first anniversary of Dogan’s imprisonment. It features tally marks that represent the number of days she has been incarcerated. Her face can been see through one of the sets of tally marks, as if they were prison bars. In her left hand, a prison bar has transformed into a pencil.
Banksy urges for others to join the protest and included the hashtag #FREEzehradogan in his Instagram post about the mural.
In a statement to the New York Times about the mural, Banksy said, “I really feel for her. I’ve painted things much more worthy of a custodial sentence.”
The Houston Bowery art wall is at the corner of Houston and Bowery streets. Murals from a variety of artists have graced this wall since 1982. For some time it was used as an advertising space by a real estate developer, who eventually handed it over to an art curator in 2008.
The wall is known as the Mecca of street artists.
Street writer and artist Borf previously told the Washington Post that he is living his dream of growing older without growing up.
In 2005, Borf’s 20-month illegal graffiti campaign in Northwest Washington garnered him much praise – and incarceration. It was eventually revealed that Borf’s true identity is John Tsombikos, who was a student at the Corcoran College of Art and Design at the time. Tsombikos was featured in a documentary film by director Paris Bustillos in 2009 called Borf!