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Since Octo­ber 11, Zehra Doğan’s works are on exhi­bi­tion in Man­hat­tan’s Draw­ing Cen­ter, part of a pre­sen­ta­tion by 140 artists who all were jailed, at one point of their life, and used draw­ing as described in the exhi­bi­tion’s title: “The Pen­cil is a Key”.

Deeply touched and mobi­lized against what is hap­pen­ing in Roja­va, in North­ern Syr­ia, Zehra Doğan pur­sues the exhi­bi­tion of her works.

In this instance, they are works she real­ized in jail on recy­cled pieces of fab­ric, while sub­ject­ed to a total embar­go on artis­tic sup­plies. Oth­er works of the same peri­od and using the same tech­niques will also be on dis­play in Paris, at the gallery of Espace Femmes Antoinette Fouque, as of Novem­ber 5 2019.

As she always does, Zehra Doğan the per­son will take back seat to the caus­es she defends, both the Kur­dish and that of women. The very rea­sons for her incar­cer­a­tion for close to three years in Turk­ish jails were pre­cise­ly for express­ing sol­i­dar­i­ty with the Kur­dish peo­ple being assault­ed and her protest against the mas­sacres per­pe­trat­ed by the Turk­ish State. As a jour­nal­ist and as an artist, she pro­ceed­ed to build an archive of the oppres­sion and uses oppor­tu­ni­ties giv­en her in order to speak out, again and again, in favor of a col­lec­tive voice.

And how nec­es­sary this voice is against Erdoğan’s weapons in Rojava.

She will also use the oppor­tu­ni­ty of the launch­ing of her book Nous aurons aus­si de beaux jours a col­lec­tion of her prison writ­ings trans­lat­ed in French (again, at Edi­tions des Femmes Antoinette Fouque) in order to speak about what amounts to dai­ly repres­sion in Turkey, accen­tu­at­ed by the cli­mate of mil­i­ta­riza­tion. The book will be avail­able in book­stores on Novem­ber 1st. Zehra will attend the launching.

Repelled by the assas­si­na­tions in Roja­va, the bomb­ings of civil­ians by the Turk­ish armed forces and the crimes com­mit­ted by gangs in their employ, Zehra is torn between her pro­fes­sion as a jour­nal­ist which would impel her to be on the spot, and the word she must car­ry to Europe where her tal­ent and her fight, both as an author and an artists are final­ly gain­ing recognition.

Her work will also be on dis­play in Italy at the San­ta Giu­lia Muse­um in Bres­cia, dur­ing the Fes­ti­val del­la Pace (Peace Festival).

Zehra Doğan has lit­tle to prove con­cern­ing her resis­tance or the place she occu­pies in it, just as she has no accounts to ren­der on her path which led her since 2014 to Syr­ia, by the side of Yazi­di women, in 2015 for a 4 month stint under the bombs with the Kur­dish pop­u­la­tions besieged in the towns of East­ern Turkey, fol­lowed by her stint in jail under the accu­sa­tion of “ter­ror­ist pro­pa­gan­da”. Bare­ly fol­low­ing her release in Feb­ru­ary 2019, she pro­vid­ed an instal­la­tion at the Tate Mod­ern in Lon­don as a trib­ute to the vic­tims of Cizre and of the oth­er destroyed neigh­bor­hoods. Who can deny her the right to recog­ni­tion as a fight­er? Not for noth­ing has she been sin­gled out for over five inter­na­tion­al prizes since she emerged from jail, includ­ing that of the Index of Cen­sor­ship.

Those who under­stand French are invit­ed to read her book of prison writ­ings, made up of a cor­re­spon­dence kept up for close to three years. You will know her bet­ter then and under­stand why artists such as Ai Wei­wei and Banksy paid trib­ute to her strug­gle, and PEN Inter­na­tion­al has sup­port­ed her.

Kedis­tan is hon­ored to count her among its friends and authors, and will con­tin­ue work­ing at spread­ing her word and her art for the great­est pos­si­ble acces­si­bil­i­ty and exposure.

Zehra Doğan is now a Kur­dish nomad, her heart bleed­ing in Roja­va, her eye-open­ing words trav­el­ling in Europe, an artist who dialogs with the real­i­ty of the oppres­sions of which she was one of the vic­tims, a woman who keeps alive with­in her the laugh­ter of her co-detainees and writes nonethe­less “Nous aurons de beaux jours”… (We will know fine days).

Zehra Doğan
The book | Spe­cial archives Zehra Doğan

Zehra Dogan

Biz” (Us)
77 x 102 cm. On mat­tress fab­ric, cof­fee, cig­a­rette ash, pome­gran­ate juice,
turmer­ic, ball­point pen, paint smug­gled into prison.
Sep­tem­ber 30 2018, Diyarbakir prison. (Pho­to: Jef Rabillon)


zehra dogan

FARZI MİSAL TUTSAK‑1” (So-called pris­on­er 1)
57 x 39 cm. On prison bed­sheet, cof­fee, cray­on. 2018 Diyarbakir prison. (Pho­to: Jef Rabillon)


zehra do

FARZI MİSAL TUTSAK‑2” (So-called pris­on­er 2)
52 x 32 cm. On prison bed­sheet, cof­fee, cray­on. 2018, Diyarbakir prison. (Pho­to: Jef Rabillon)

Zehra dogan

Gözlem” (Obser­va­tion) (Front and Back)
62 x 47 cm. Tea, ball­point ink on To-Shirt. June 2018, Diyarbakir prison. (Pho­to: Jef Rabillon)


Fatı­ma’nın Eli” (Fat­ma’s Hand)
58 x 34 cm. On pil­low case, tea, cof­fee, ball­point ink, embroi­dery.
Novem­ber 2018, Diyarbakir prison. (Pho­to: Jef Rabillon)

Translation by Renée Lucie Bourges 
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Le petit mag­a­zine qui ne se laisse pas caress­er dans le sens du poil.