Photo © Şemzin Şin / HD version
Zehra Doğan was born in 1989 in Diyarbakır, Turkey. She graduated at the Dicle University’s Fine Arts Programme and co-founded JINHA, the first all-women press agency (Jin in Kurdish means woman), where she worked from 2012 to 2016 until JINHA has been closed by the Turkish government. During these years Zehra Doğan has been awarded several prizes, including the Musa Anter Special Jury Prize, in Kurdish journalism, and Metin Göktepe Journalism Award, one of the most prestigious prizes in Turkey.
During the war in Iraq and Syria, the artist and journalist reported from both fronts and was one of the first journalists to give account of the Êzidî women who were enslaved by ISIS in Northern Iraq. During the conflicts in the Kurdish areas of Turkey, Doğan tried to report from Cizre and Nusaybin where the national government had imposed a curfew and from where journalists were banned.
In July 2016, the day after she left Nusaybin, Zehra Doğan was incarcerated in Mardin. Following a trial, in March 2017 she was sentenced to 2 years, 9 months and 22 days under the charge of “terrorist propaganda” based on the articles she had written and a digital drawing depicting the destruction of Nusaybin by the Turkish army.
She spent several months in hiding in a safe place in Istanbul while the was sought by the police. She produced about 50 pieces of work during this period, which she calls “Clandestine days”. She was arrested during a routine traffic check, on 12 July 2017. She was first taken to the prison of Diyarbakır, and on 23 October 2018 to the higher security penitentiary of Tarsus.
Zehra’s work was displayed in August 2016 at the Douarnenez Film Festival in France, the first of her exhibitions in Europe. In 2017, while waiting for her trial after her first detention, she organised an exhibition in Diyarbakır, entitled “141” (the number of days she spent in jail) presenting the paintings she had made in prison.
On 8 October 2018, during the 84th International PEN Congress in India, Zehra Doğan has been appointed, although she could not attend the ceremony, honorary member of the association. During that same year, her works were exhibited in Europe, included in “141”, together with the paintings produced between her first release and her following re-incarceration, plus the works she later produced in prison. In November 2019 the publishing house “Editions des Femmes” published the correspondence she held during her detention, entitled “Nous aurons aussi de beaux jours” (We will also have good days). The book will be published in the first half of 2022 in Italian (Fandango), then in German (Spector Books). In spring 2021 her graphic book “Prison n°5” has been published almost simultaneously in French (Editions Delcourt) and in Italian (Becco Giallo).
She currently resides in Berlin, and works in Europe, in “nomadic” mode.
She continues to exhibit and perform in different countries and venues such as Tate Modern in London, Drawing Center in New York, Rennes Opera House in France, Santa Giulia Museum in Brescia, Pavilion of Contemporary Art in Milano, Palazzi dell’Arte in Rimini, in Italy, Kıraathane İstanbul Edebiyat Evi in Turkey, Maxim Gorki Theatre in Berlin, Germany, and in Spain; Cruce, in Madrid…. She participates art initiatives, such as Berlin Biennale #11, Art Basel “Miami Beach” 2021…
AWARDS AND RECOGNITION
- 2021, Prison n°5, selected in list of best graphic books 10 of the year 2021 by Il Manifesto.
- 2021, Prison n°5, selected top list of 15 best comics of 2021 by Wired Italy.
- 2021, Power 100 – Most influential people in 2021 in the contemporary artworld.
- 2021, Atomium Awards : “Le Soir Prize” of the comic strip of reportage 2021, for her graphic. novel Prison n°5, published in 2021 by Editions Delcourt.
- 2020, Power 100 – Most influential people in 2020 in the contemporary artworld.
- 2020, Carol Rama Award, by Artissima 2020.
- 2020, during the 14th edition of the Festival of Feminine Excellence in Genoa, Italy, she receives the Hypatia Award for International Feminine Excellence.
- 2019 Exceptional Courage in Journalism Award of the May Chidiac Foundation, Lebanon.
- 2018, honorary member of PEN International
- 2018, International Women’s Media Foundation’s Courage in Journalism Award
- 2018 May, Spring of Press Freedom Prize by Deutscher Journalisten Verbrand (The German Journalists Association)
- 2017, Rebellion’s Artist in the World 2017 award bestowed by the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN).
- 2017, Freethinker Prize, along with Masih Alinejad, an Iranian journalist.
- 2015 Metin Göktepe Journalism Award for her work about Êzidî women escaping from ISIS captivity.
- In 2012 she received with Hazal Peker, the Special Jury Prize, in Kurdish journalism, Musa Anter Kürtçe for her work entitled “Li Rojava welat emanetê jinên kurd in” (In Western Kurdistan, the country is entrusted to Kurdish women).
EXHIBITIONS & PERFORMANCES
- November 2022 – March 2023, “Kurdystan – Oblicza trwania”, Leon Wyczółkowski District Museum in Bydgoszcz, Poland.
- 21 November 2022, “Paroles, corps et graphies”, performance for the opening of the Human Rights Week of the University of Geneva, as part of the festival les Créatives. Geneva, Switzerland.
- November 2022, Artissima Fair 2022. Torino, Italy.
- October 2022, the group exhibition “Rojava – Binxet”. Curator Barış Seyitvan, as part of the Kurdish Film Festival, Babylon, Berlin, Germany.
- July 17 to September 25, 2022, the Museum of Contemporary Art of Calasetta, group exhibition, “War is sweet to those who have never experienced it”. Fondazione MACC in collaboration with Prometeo Gallery, curated by Efisio Carbone.
- May – September 2022, “Prison n°5”, collective exhibition “Splendid Isolation”. SMAK, City Museum for Contemporary Art, Ghent, Belgium.
- April 2022, “Prison n°5” for the exhibition “En la selva eau mucho por hacer”. Curated by Maria Barrios. Museo de la Solidaridad Salvador Allende, Santiago, Chili.
- April 2022, “Established” B-13, Fiera Internazionale d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Miart 2022, Milano, Italy.
- April – Juin 2022, “Segni di me. Il corpo, un palcoscenico”, six artists relate to Carol Rama. Casa Testori, Novate Milanese, Italy. A cura di Rischa Paterlini con Giuseppe Frangi.
- February 2022, Art Basel OVR, Zehra Doğan, “Prison n°5”.
- December 2021, collective exhibition of “Xwebûn”, women artists collective founded by the Academy of Jineology. Kareem Chawshin gallery, Sulaymaniyah, Iraq.
- Novembre 2021, “Other rooms, other voices”, collective exhibition, Criminal Police Department Mühleweg, curated by Adam Szymczyk Zurich, Suisse.
- October – November 2021, individual exhibition, “Zehra Doğan: Prigione N°5”, Prometeo Gallery, Milano, Italy.
- October – November 2021, collective exhibition, “Fractured Spine”. Curated by Nistiman Erdede. Photobastei, Zurich, Switzerland.
- September 2021, collective exhibition, Miart, International Fair of Modern and Contemporary Art, Milano, Italy.
- July 2021, collective exhibition “El grito de la verdad” (The Cry of Truth), Cruce, Madrid.
- June 2021, individual exhibition “Prison n°5”, curated by Shermin Langhoff, during the 5. Berliner Herbstsalon 2021 – 2022, “Stronger Still”, Kiosk, Maxim Gorki Theatre, Berlin.
- May – June 2021, collective exhibition “Danae revisited”, Villa Brandolini, Pieve di Soligo, Italy.
- February 2021, individual exhibition “Il tempo delle farfalle” (Time of the Butterflies), dedicated to Patria, Minerva, Teresa Mirabal, curated by Elettra Stamboulis, PAC – Pavilion of Contemporary Art, Milano, Italy.
- January 2021 – June 2022 “Fashion is a verb: Art Performance and Identity“, Willam Peterson University Galleries, New Jersey, USA.
- December 2020, “Hassas Müdahale”, collective exhibition, Kıraathane İstanbul Edebiyat Evi, Istanbul, Turkey.
- December 2020, Art Basel, collective exhibition “OVR: Miami Beach”.
- September–October 2020, individual exhibition “Nehatîye Dîtın / Görülmemiştir”, curated by M. Wenda Koyuncu and Seval Dakman, Kıraathane İstanbul Edebiyat Evi, Istanbul, Turkey.
- September 2020, collective exhibition “Art in Protest” by Human Rights Foundation (HRF).
- September 2020, individual exhibition “Beyond”, and performance. Prometeo Gallery, Milan. Italy.
- September 2020, collective exhibition. Collection of the San Patrignano Foundation. Palazzi dell’Arte Rimini – PART, Italy.
- September 2020, collective exhibition on censorship “Línies vermelles. La censura en la col” , with the digital work “Nusaybin”. La Panera Art Centre, Barcelona, Spain.
- September 2020, “Xêzên Dizî” (The Hidden Drawings), Berlin Biennale, Germany.
- August 2020, group show, “A volte penso che…” (Sometimes I think…), Ex Church of San Matteo, Lucca, Italia.
- On July 21, 2020, Zehra Doğan pays homage to the city of Brescia, in Italy, with a large mural artwork for coronavirus resistance.
- July 2020, Ravenna Festival, Italy, two performances during the “Roads of Friendship” concerts, with the Kurdish singer Aynur Doğan, the Giovanile Luigi Cherubini Orchestra and the Syrian Expat Philharmonic Orchestra (SEPO) conducted by Riccardo Muti. Curated by Elettra Stamboulis.
- June 2020, she begins a wall newspaper project entitled “The Hard Times” with a first issue dedicated to George Floyd, on a wall around Parc Rosa Parks in Paris, France.
- January 2020, Nassauischer Kunstverein in Wiesbaden individual exhibition, “To each Age its art –To Art its Freedom”.
- January 2020, individual exhibition, Peace Forum 2020 in Basel, Switzerland.
- December 2019, collective exhibition, “Speaking Across Mountains: Kurdish Artists in Dialogue”, Middle East Institute (MEI) Art Gallery, Washington, United States.
- November–January 2019, individual exhibition, “Avremo anche giorni migliori. Opere dalle carceri turche” (We shall also know better days. Works from Turkish prisons), as part of the Brescia Peace Festival. Curated by Elettra Stamboulis. Santa Giulia Museum, Brescia, Italy,
- November 2019, individual exhibition “Œuvres évadées” (Escaped works), Galerie de l’Espace des femmes – Editions des femmes, Paris, France.
- November 2019, collective exhibition, “The Pencil is a Key – Drawings by Incarcerated Artists”, Drawing Center, New York, United States.
- May 2019, installation “Ê Li Dû Man” (What is left behind), Tate Modern, London, Great-Britain.
- March 2019, Rennes Opera House, France, individual exhibition “Les yeux grands ouverts” (Eyes wide open).
- December 2018 “Kurdish Art Fair” 2nd edition, collective exhibition, London, United Kingdom.
- January 2018, individual exhibition “Les yeux grands ouverts” (Eyes wide open), Tour Saint Aubin in Angers, France,
- September 2018, individual exhibition “Festival des Autres Mondes – Zehra Doğan” (Festival of the Other Worlds – Zehra Doğan), Pays de Morlaix, France.
- August 2017, individual exhibition, “Les yeux grands ouverts” (Eyes wide open), Festival de cinéma de Douarnenez, France.
- February 2017, individual exhibition “141”, Diyarbakır, Turkey.
- Zehra Doğan “Wir werden auch schöne Tage sehen. Briefe aus dem Gefängnis“. Spector Books, February 2022.
- Zehra Doğan, “Avremo anche noi dei bei giorni”, Fandango, February 2022.
- “Zehra. La ragazza che dipingeva la guerra”, (Zehra. The girl who painted the war) by Antonella De Biasi, illustred by Zehra Doğan, Mondadori, 8 juillet 2021.
- “Prigione N°5”, Zehra Doğan, graphic novel. Becco Giallo, Avril 2021.
- “Prison N°5”, Zehra Doğan graphic novel, Delcourt, translated and adapted by Naz Oke, Daniel Fleury, March 2021.
- Zehra Doğan “Avremo anche giorni migliori. Opere dalle carceri turche” (We shall also know better days. Works from Turkish prisons) by Elettra Stamboulis, Art Catalogue, Skira Publishing.
- “Nous aurons aussi de beaux jours : écrits de prison” (We shall also know better days: prison writings), Zehra Doğan. Translated by Naz Oke, Daniel Fleury, Editions des femmes, October 2019.
- “Les Yeux grands ouverts”, (Eyes Wide Open) Zehra Doğan. Translated by Naz Oke, Fage Editions, July 2017.