She was imprisoned for “spreading terrorist propaganda” after she posting a painting depicting a ruined Kurdish town draped in Turkish flags.

Zehra Doğan . Source: The Art Newspaper

Turkish-Kurdish artist and journalist Zehra Doğan was sentenced to jail in 2016. In jail, she began to create paintings on scrap paper, using her menstrual blood, the Art Newspaper reports.

Zehra’s colleagues and friends set up the group Free Zehra Doğan on the internet to campaign for her release and spread information about her in Europe, Turkey and the US. British street artist Banksy showed solidarity with her: he dedicated his 20-metre mural in New York to her in March 2018.

A spokesman for the Free Zehra Doğan group says: “Turkey has created problems for artists and journalists for decades, but this period [under President Tayyip Erdogan] is the worst. Artists who express ideas that the [Turkish] government dislikes find themselves threatened, excluded from projects or in prison, like Zehra.”

The artist has no access to canvas and paint, so she paints on leftover paper using food, drinks and her own blood. The group says Zehra’s health is not bad despite poor heating in winter, a lack of fresh air and cooling in overcrowded cells in summer.

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