16 November 2019 - 0:00
01 March 2020 - 0:00
“We will also have better days. - Zehra Doğan. Works from the Turkish prisons” is an original project curated by Elettra Stamboulis and it is the first critical curatorial exhibition dedicated to the founder of the Kurdish feminist news agency "Jinha". The exhibition includes about 60 never-displayed-before artworks including drawings, paintings, and mixed media works, dating from the artist’s detention in the prisons of Mardin, Diyarbakir and Tarso.
The first section of the exhibition is dedicated to stains, shapes originating from the casual mark left on a support chosen as a creative surface. From stains the artist was able to define a symbolic imagery, dominated by human figures, with stylized eyes, hands, and female attributes. Female figures, interpreted as individual presences or a collective group, are the focus of the second section of the display. As a feminist activist and one of the first international journalists to have collected the testimonies of the Yazidi women who managed to escape ISIS, Doğan dedicates most of her production to the representation of women. The female body becomes part of a political representation with scenes of war, where again the female presence is predominant, underlining how the first battle to be won is that against patriarchy. Pablo Picasso, the creator of Guernica and of the elaboration of a specific language of despair, is as the artist herself declares, a fundamental point of reference in the definition of a narrative of pain.
The exhibition closes with a group of works created after Doğan was released from prison.
Who is Zehra Doğan?
Zehra was born in 1989 in Diyarbakır, Turkey. She graduated at the Dicle University’s Fine Arts Programme and is the co-founded JINHA, the first all-women press agency (Jin in Kurdish means woman), where she worked from 2010 to 2016 until JINHA was closed by the government. Over these years Zehra Dorğan has been awarded several prizes, including the Metin Göktepe Journalism Award, one of the most prestigious in Turkey. Recently she received the Exceptional Courage in Journalism Award, from the Fondation May Chidiac (MCF) in Lebanon. During the war in Iraq and Syria, the artist and journalist reported from both fronts and was one of the first journalists to give account of the Yazidi women who were enslaved by ISIS in northern Iraq. In July 2016, the day after she left Nusaybin, Zehra Doğan was incarcerated in Mardin. Following a trial, in March 2017 she was sentenced to 2 years, 9 months and 22 days under the charge of “terrorist propaganda” based on the articles she had written and one watercolour.
In 2017, while waiting for her trial after her first detention, she organised an exhibition in Diyarbakır, entitled 141 (the number of days she spent in jail) presenting the paintings she had made in prison.
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