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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