A Japan­ese col­lec­tive active in wel­com­ing Kur­dish refugees in Tokyo has orga­nized an exhi­bi­tion of pho­tos by pho­tog­ra­ph­er and jour­nal­ist Refik Tekin and of repro­duc­tions of works by artist Zehra Doğan.

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Those two know each oth­er well, since they worked togeth­er for a long time before he was wound­ed by gun­fire dur­ing the Bakur cur­fews  and Zehra was arrest­ed in 2016, then sen­tenced and imprisoned.

Refik Tekin now lives in exile. Zehra Doğan was final­ly lib­er­at­ed at the end of February.

Each in their own way, they were cho­sen by this Japan­ese asso­ci­a­tion to pro­vide an account of the oppres­sion to which the Kur­dish peo­ple were sub­ject­ed in recent years, which led fam­i­lies into exile, as ear­li­er oppres­sions had done in the eight­ies and nineties. Some Kur­dish exiles have reached Japan. A col­lec­tive has set itself the task of aid­ing this dias­po­ra’s inte­gra­tion and famil­iar­iz­ing the pub­lic with their cul­ture, their his­to­ry and the rea­sons for their exile… All this in a Japan­ese soci­ety far removed from Mid­dle East­ern cultures.

Kedis­tan was more than hap­py to play along so that this col­lec­tive could exhib­it repro­duc­tions of Zehra’s work which were done in Japan for the occa­sion. Refik Tekin han­dled all the rest splen­did­ly, and, judg­ing from the press releas­es,  his pho­tog­ra­phy most obvi­ous­ly impressed the Japan­ese public.

So, once again, Zehra’s words take on their mean­ing “I would like that the live events cling to my paint­ings.”  Pho­to­jour­nal­ism and art oper­at­ed a junc­tion in this exhi­bi­tion in order to present his­tor­i­cal archives to a pub­lic cul­tur­al­ly far removed from this con­text. Tiny drop of water in the ocean of glob­al infor­ma­tion, but undoubt­ed­ly more effec­tive than any num­ber of flag-wav­ing marches…

Here are a few images of this week-long exhibition.

Reminder: You have until Sat­ur­day March 30th includ­ed to dis­cov­er 40 orig­i­nal works by Zehra Doğan, in France this time, at Car­ré de l’Opéra de Rennes, in Brit­tany. Hurry!


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