Banksy mural backs jailed Turkish artist Zehra Dogan


New York (AFP)

After taking a stand in support of Palestinians and migrants, British street artist Banksy is now showing solidarity with imprisoned Turkish-Kurdish artist and journalist Zehra Dogan with a giant mural in Manhattan.

The famed graffiti artist's 20-meter (yard) work features a series of tally marks such as those prisoners use to keep track of the time they have been confined, one of which doubles as the bars of Dogan's cell.

"Free Zehra Dogan" appears in the bottom right corner of the mural, located at the crossroads of Houston Street and Bowery.

Dogan was jailed for a painting picturing the Kurdish-majority town of Nusaybin in southeastern Turkey, which suffered heavy damage during a Turkish military operation.

"Sentenced to nearly three years in jail for painting a single picture. #FREEzehradogan," Banksy wrote in an Instagram post accompanying the mural.

The "Bowery Mural Wall" on the edge of the East Village has hosted some of the biggest names in graffiti since the late 1970s. Banksy's work was preceded by one by artist Lakwena.

Banksy is behind another work in recent days in Manhattan: picturing a rat -- one of the artist's signature motifs -- running inside the face of a clock on a building slated for demolition, at the intersection of Sixth Avenue and 14th Street.

The identity of Banksy, whose politically provocative graffiti appears suddenly on walls around the world, remains a mystery despite frequent attempts to pierce the secrecy.