The elusive Banksy has hit the famous Houston Bowery wall in New York. The new 70-foot-long piece is a collaboration with street writer Borf and protests the imprisonment of Turkish prisoner Zehra Dogan for painting a picture.
Journalist and painter Zehra Dogan was sentenced in March 2017 for nearly 3 years for painting a water-colour scene of a Turkish city heavily damaged by state security forces, and for alleged ties to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Banksy’s mural coincides with Dogan’s first year anniversary in prison. The tallies on the mural represent the number of days she has been incarcerated. The face of Zehra Dogan can be seen behind bars and in her left hand the bar has been removed and replaced with a pencil.
At night above the mural shows a projection of Zehra Dogan’s water-colour painting that was the cause of her imprisonment.
Banksy has urged everyone to protest and save Zehra Dogan from further imprisonment. Banksy shared an image of the mural on his Instagram with the hashtag #FREEzehradogan, writing “one year ago, Zehra Dogan was jailed for painting this watercolor of a photograph she saw in the newspaper. Protest against this injustice by re-gramming her painting, and tagging Turkey’s President Erdogan.”
“I really feel for her. I’ve painted things much more worthy of a custodial sentence,” Banksy said in a statement to the New York Times.
The iconic Houston Bowery Graffiti Wall can be found at the corner of Bowery & Houston St. in Manhattan’s Lower East Side/Chinatown area.
Goldman Properties acquired the wall in 1984, using it for advertisements for two decades until 2008. The first mural painted was a tribute to Keith Haring to commemorate his 50th birthday. The mural was a recreation of Keith Haring’s celebrated Houston Street and Bowery mural he painted in 1982.
Other artists that have painted the famous wall include RETNA, Shepard Fairey, Os Gemeos, JR, Keith Haring, CRASH, Faile, Maya Hayak and PichiAvo.