Orig­i­nal works by the Kur­dish jour­nal­ist, artist and writer Zehra Doğan keep on find­ing their pub­lic in dif­fer­ent Euro­pean cities while she counts down the final days of her incar­cer­a­tion in Tar­sus prison.

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The next ren­dez-vous will be in the Car­ré Lul­ly exhi­bi­tion hall of Rennes’ Opera House, from March 5th to 31st. The exhi­bi­tion is orga­nized by the Kur­dish Friend­ship of Brit­tany — Ami­tiés Kur­des de Bre­tagne, in part­ner­ship with the Rennes Opera House, the city of Rennes, the Mai­son Inter­na­tionale de Rennes and the Baba Zula bar. Scenog­ra­phy for the exhi­bi­tion will be pro­vid­ed by Philippe Leduc from the Lucie Lom work­shop, in sol­i­dar­i­ty with Zehra.

More than 30 original works will be exhibited from two artistic periods.

zehra dogan rennes

Click to enlarge

The clan­des­tine peri­od” cov­ers works exe­cut­ed begin­ning of 2017 in Istan­bul where, fol­low­ing her first arrest in July 2016 and her release on bail, Zehra had found refuge while await­ing the deci­sion of the Court of Appeal. The draw­ings and paint­ings of that peri­od describe the events and destruc­tions which Zehra wit­nessed in the pre­ced­ing years while cov­er­ing as a jour­nal­ist the cur­fews imposed in Kur­dish towns in the East and south­east­ern part of Turkey, in the end of 2015.

As for the “jail peri­od”, it pro­vides a look at the works exe­cut­ed by Zehra in jail, when she was denied all access to artis­tic mate­ri­als. Deter­mined and most inven­tive, Zehra then man­aged to express her­self using what­ev­er means were avail­able. She obtained pig­ments by using food­stuffs, or molds, bird drop­pings, or men­stru­al blood. With brush­es made out of bird feath­ers or the hair of friends shar­ing her prison quar­ter, she paint­ed on what­ev­er medi­um she could lay her hands on. Wrap­ping paper, cig­a­rette papers, reverse side of let­ters, sheets, pil­low cas­es, old clothes, every­thing held pos­si­bil­i­ties… Indomitable, she went on cre­at­ing. She also pur­sued her writ­ing and her draw­ing so that her thoughts, as well as those of her co-detainees and of all polit­i­cal pris­on­ers “may leave the pris­ons by the thou­sands, like branch­es of ivy, reach­ing us on the out­side, and mak­ing beau­ti­ful flow­ers blos­som there.” *

Dis­cov­er­ing Zehra’s works is a con­ver­sa­tion, a trans­mis­sion, a rais­ing of aware­ness. And, in all sim­plic­i­ty, she gives us a les­son in resistance.

zehra dogan rennes

Page markers/event pro­grams avail­able at the exhibition

This exhibition in Rennes includes an important date in Zehra’s struggle: the world-wide Day for Women’s Rights.

Nour­ished by the wom­en’s strug­gles with­in her cul­ture, Zehra speaks to us as a Kur­dish woman. A uni­ver­sal, col­lec­tive and fem­i­nist mes­sage flows from her pen and her paint­brush­es, with deep roots in His­to­ry and serv­ing as an archive for the present. She whis­pers truths and reflec­tions to the ear of every­one, every­where in the world and when words are not enough, she uses art in order to speak to con­sciences through the eyes.

Woman, not only the Kur­dish one but as a uni­ver­sal pres­ence is every­where in Zehra’s work.  Be it text or a visu­al medi­um. Despite cen­turies of anni­hi­la­tion, of oppres­sion, of tar­get­ed aggres­sions, this woman has nev­er lost her ances­tral knowl­edge and expe­ri­ence. She draws her strength from this “matri­lin­ear­i­ty”, from her kin­ship with nature, a spir­it of sol­i­dar­i­ty, her desire for rev­o­lu­tion, begin­ning with the recov­ery of her true self. The key to a bet­ter world nec­es­sar­i­ly runs through such a woman…

Rennes will ben­e­fit from a whole pro­gramme around Inter­na­tion­al Wom­en’s Rights Day, from 5 to 29 March. Con­fer­ences, read­ings, meet­ings, debates, exhi­bi­tions and shows… And Zehra Doğan’s pic­to­r­i­al tes­ti­mo­ny will be a highlight…

Rennes Zehra Dogan femmes

The exhi­bi­tion will be acces­si­ble from Tues­days to Sat­ur­days between I PM and 7 PM.

It will be inau­gu­rat­ed on March 5th at 18 PM

Some­one will be in atten­dance every Wednes­day between 2 PM and 6 PM. Those who wish to learn more about Zehra’s expres­sion and tes­ti­mo­ni­al are warm­ly well­comed. Kedis­tan will con­tribute its mod­est share through guid­ed visits.

This exhi­bi­tion, an invi­ta­tion to lis­ten to Zehra’s silent cry of trans­mis­sion, will also serve as the epi­cen­ter to oth­er initiatives.

• A con­fer­ence and debate will be held on March 10 at 6h30 PM at la Mai­son Inter­na­tionale, 7 quai de Chateaubriand.

With the par­tic­i­pa­tion of

  • Jacques Massey, free­lance jour­nal­ist, author and ex-audi­tor for the IHESI. He has worked on inquiries into the assas­si­na­tions in Paris of three Kur­dish mil­i­tants in 2013, Rojbin, Sakine and Fidan.
  • Haz­al, an active mem­ber of the Kur­dish Wom­en’s Move­ment — Mou­ve­ment des femmes kur­des, an orga­ni­za­tion group­ing women (whether Kur­dish or not) shar­ing an objec­tive of eman­ci­pa­tion for women through­out the world, through a fight against patri­archy, not only on the front but also in dai­ly life. (See “jine­olo­gie”)
  • Duygu Erol, Kur­dish jour­nal­ist in exile, cor­re­spon­dent for Jin­ha, the fem­i­nine and fem­i­nist news agency of which Zehra is one of the co-founders. This agency was for­bid­den and shut down by decree in 2016. Since then, it has risen from its ash­es, many times under dif­fer­ent names, every time it is muz­zled and shut down by the State.
  • André Metay­er, founder and pre­cious dean of the asso­ci­a­tion Kur­dish Friend­ship of Brit­tany - Ami­tiés Kur­des de Bre­tagne.

• A con­cert on March 15th at 8:30 PM (atten­tion the date of 16th March is changed) at the Baba Zula Bar, 182 Gen­er­al Pat­ton avenue in Rennes,
for a total immer­sion in the col­or­ful uni­vers­es of the Yıldız group, which draws its inspi­ra­tion from the ori­en­tal uni­verse, its musi­cal diver­si­ty and the rich­ness of its tongues, be they Kur­dish, Armen­ian, Turkish…

The Rennes Demo­c­ra­t­ic Coun­cil of Kurds (CDK‑R) and the Kur­dish dias­po­ra will be on hand dur­ing these initiatives…

You may look up the exhi­bi­tion event here on Face­book.

And you can also fol­low and read Zehra on social net­works: on Face­book by sign­ing up to the Free Zehra Doğan page. Here is her Twit­ter account @zehradoganjinhaa. Dur­ing her absence, her accounts are man­aged by fam­i­ly and friends.

For more information on Zehra Doğan:
you may look up her website zehradogan.net 
and Kedistan's special dossier on Zehra Doğan

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