In July of 2016, Doğan—who is an ethnic Kurd—was arrested after sharing an image on social media of a painting she’d made of the bombed remnants of Nusaybin
, a predominantly Kurdish city in southern Turkey near the Syrian border. The painting was based on a photograph circulated by the Turkish military, which showed the damage wrought by fighting between Turkey and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). At her trial in early 2017, she was acquitted
of the more serious charge of being a member of an illegal organization—over her suspected ties to the PKK—but nevertheless sentenced to 34 months in prison because of her painting.
“What makes this country, that slaughters the people who stand up against oppression, fears (sic) the most is showing the reality just like a mirror to them,” Doğan’s letter to Banksy continues. “And with your support, my painting now accomplished its mission of showing the atrocities. I was surprised when they accused me by ‘Leading people to rebellion, rage and hatred’ because of my painting. But now, I say ‘This painting was worth my time in prison because I managed to show the reality of Nusaybin.’”