Zehra Doğan

Year and place of birth: 1989, Diyarbakır, Turkey
5 Zehra Dogan Prigione N5 2021 Mixed media on marine plywood 250 x 306 cm Ph Lucio Ghilardi

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Zehra Doğan is an artist, journalist and author from Diyarbakır, Turkey. She co-founded the first all-women press agency JINHA, which reported both during the war in Iraq and Syria, and during the ongoing Kurdish–Turkish conflict. In 2016, Doğan was accused of terrorist propaganda for posting drawings on social media that depicted the destruction of the town Nusaybin by the Turkish army. Following her arrest, she was sentenced and detained. From Diyarbakır, she was transferred to the higher security penitentiary of Tarsus in 2018 and subsequently released in 2019.

Her artistic oeuvre emerges from the experience of hiding and incarceration, translating imposed conditions of confinement into drawings and paintings, made with whatever makeshift material she could find. Clandestine days is a series that Doğan produced while being sought by the police in Istanbul. Whilst awaiting trial after her first detention, the artist organised an exhibition of the paintings entitled 141, the number of days spent in jail. In November 2019, the correspondence she conducted with a friend during her detention entitled Nous aurons aussi de beaux jours (We will also have good days) was published by Editions des Femmes. The result of immeasurable determination and resistance, her graphic novel Prison N°5 published in 2021, depicts Doğan’s daily prison life.

Doğan currently resides in Berlin, exhibiting her work in and around Europe and participating in international art initiatives. She is the recipient of several international art and journalism awards and recognitions. In 2018, she was nominated honorary member of PEN International.

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