Turkish-Kurdish journalist and artist Zehra Doğan has been released from prison after serving nearly three years for “spreading terrorist propaganda.”
The so-called “propaganda” was a watercolor painting Doğan created that depicted the annihilation of the Kurdish town of Nusaybin by Turkish military forces. According to Hyperallergic, the painting was based on a real-life photograph. Nevertheless, in March 2017, the Turkish government sentenced Doğan to two years and ten months in prison for posting a picture of the painting on social media.
A dedicated artist, Doğan continued to draw and paint during her time spent in prison, despite the fact that there were little to no supplies available. According to The Art Newspaper, she resorted to using her own menstrual blood as paint.
“I had to continue drawing. It’s that simple,” she said. “There was nothing else that I could do to express my existence.”
Before being imprisoned, Doğan worked as an editor at the feminist news agency JINHA. In a video published just minutes after her release, Doğan said that she remains committed to her political activism.
“It is my field of work, of struggle. I have no excuse,” she said. “I do not have the right nor the pretext to do nothing, I must act.”
Her release is being celebrated by political artists and human rights organizations across the globe. Some of her biggest supporters include Ai Weiwei, Banksy, PEN America, and Freemuse.
“I was waiting for the day when my sentence would come to an end,” Doğan told Turkish news outlet Bianet following her release. “I am very happy. I extend my thanks to every single person who supported me during this process.”