How free is an artist in our world to express him or herself through his or her artwork? How can we weight artistic freedom and through which form can it be expressed when in huge parts of our world, the freedom to express is still censored, limited and denied by the smallest group of individuals, who exercise power through control?
Sentenced to prison for depicting what she saw, for creating a painting for the future.
Turkish-Kurdish painter and journalist Zehra Doğan is an artist, who depicted the destruction caused by Turkish security forces in a Kurdish region in Turkey, for which she now faces 2 years, nine months and 22 days of prison.
Art is relative and so vulnerable to various interpretations, like in this case, whereby Zehra Doğan’s artwork was seen as harming certain people’s acts and their beliefs, interpreting the painting in a way, while most probably the artist’s main intention was to give back a moment of real life, capturing it for others, for the future (especially being a journalist as well).
Often we take for granted the freedom of expression that we live in the western cultures.
We are surrounded and bombarded by so many types of expressions via media, Internet, through social media, etc. that we do not stop to question their validity, truth or even existence. Most of them do not even effect us as they pass through our ears and eyes day in and out.
Imagine living in a country where not only the news but even art is censored, where artists, intellectuals and people who teach their wisdom cannot write, speak, act or paint openly what they feel or think as right deep within themselves.
Freedom of expression is frail but a right too if used correctly, without the intention to harm.
Those who sentenced the artist forgot the underlying truth, which is that an artist cannot be other than true and honest to her or himself and mainly to his or her mission.
Without the great painters of the past, who have depicted historical moments, using their canvases for reporting and capturing impressive and important impressions throughout the centuries, humanity would know much less of our roots, our past.
The grandeur of these artists was the courage to depict everything they saw, they felt in their depth, being the rightful heroes of their ages. What would humanity do without these valuable pieces of works?
Truth cannot be cancelled, perhaps for a while through actions of periodical control, but eventually it always finds its way.
The freedom that lies within the heart and that seeks its way to express itself and be heard, to be seen is a form of expression in itself.
It is in cultures where such controls are exercised that such courage of standing up for truth is mostly valued.
It is in such difficult circumstances that a true heart is forged to show us a contrast, in order to respect and appreciate our own freedom of expression.