ZEHRA DOĞAN

Sorgul (Red Rose) is a collective song executed by a group of women that returns the story of the persecution of the Kurdish Yazidi community. The title of the song, which is a recognizable lament in traditional Kurdish culture – a clear reminder of the harshness and need to feel pain – owes its name to a woman called 'Sorgul'. Mistakenly perceived as a love song, Sorgul (Red rose) instead describes the massacre of a community and leaves a trace, through the expression of the voice, of a recent history little told and disseminated due to censorship exercised by regimes and political control. The song, which is also a symbolic and physical process of resistance and liberation, is a shared oral heritage that is consigned to the present after having been handed down, from generation to generation and from language to language, by the women of the community. Sorgul (Red Rose) disseminates a language that is still forbidden in the countries of origin.

The team of the OTO SOUND MUSEUM supported artist Zehra Doğan and her artistic-activist practice through her sound project Sorgul (Red Rose), which in turn aims to support the people of the Kurdish community affected by the earthquake (2023).

Zehra Doğan

(b. 1989, Turkey) is a Kurdish artist and journalist. She graduated at the Dicle University’s Fine Arts Programme and is the co-founder of JINHA, the first all-women press agency. During the war in Iraq and Syria, she 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. 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. Over the years Zehra Doğan has been awarded several prizes, including the Carol Rama Prize (2020), Exceptional Courage in Journalism Award from the May Chidiac Foundation (2019), the Freedom of Expression Award in the Arts category from Index on Censorship (2019), the Courage in Journalism Award from the International Women’s Media Foundation (2018), the Rebellion’s Artist in the World Prize (2017), the Freethinker Prize from the Swiss Association of Free Thinkers, Frei Denken (2017) and the Metin Göktepe Journalism Award (2015). As an artist and writer, she lives and works in Europe in “nomadic” mode. 

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