After some five years since his last project in New York City, elusive British artist, Banksy returned to lower Manhattan with a call for justice.
Last week, Banksy took over the famed, 70-foot Houston Bowery wall with a black-and-white mural of Turkish journalist, Zehra Doğan, who looks out though bars, the last one of which morphs into a pencil.
She received a nearly three-year sentence for posting on social media her watercolor of the Kurdish town of Nasyabin after the Turkish armed forces razed it.
The unveiling of the artwork, which also includes a tally of the days Doğan has already spent in jail, coincides with her one-year prison anniversary. At night, the wall lights up with an impactful projection of her painting. Alongside the mural, Banksy scribbled a call for her release, “Free Zehra Doğan.”
“We are proud that Banksy chose New York – and the Houston Bowery wall – to share this message,” said Jessica Goldman, CEO of Goldman Properties, which owns the iconic wall. “We stand alongside every artist who chooses to use his or her creative abilities to highlight human rights issues.”
This is not the first time the Houston Bowery wall has borne powerful pleas for equity and dignity that have reflected the anxieties as well as the aspirations of generations. A blank canvas in rotation ever since Keith Haring made it famous with his first large-scale work in the 1980s, the wall has showcased murals by street-art visionaries like Lakwena Maciver, David Chloe, Ron English and Logan Hicks among others.