Well the previous work by eL Seed on this feature wall in Shoreditch didn’t last long, and neither shall the new work by Polish Street Artist, Slawek Czajkowski, aka Zbiok, which will only be up for another week or two. Over the course of some four days Zbiok built up this work, which strongly flits from the absurd and whimsical to the brutal, in its subjects and portrayal. Zbiok painted the Village Underground to show solidarity with the 29-year-old Iranian artist Atena Farghadani. With this work commissioned by the Journalism Is Not A Crime campaign for persecuted journalists in Iran, and in conjunction with the social media initiative #Draw4Atena, coming just days after Farghadani was awarded the 2015 Courage in Editorial Cartooning Award by Cartoonists Rights.
Having been arrested as a student in August 2014, Farghadani was arrested a second time in January 2015 and tried in a Revolutionary Court, held separate from Iran’s mainstream judicial system, and in May shewas sentenced to 12 years and nine months in prison. Her latest arrest came after meeting with families of political prisoners and because of her cartoon depicting Iranian parliamentarians with animal faces, drawn in response to two bills being considered by MPs to outlaw voluntary sterilisation, further restriction of access to contraceptives, and the tightening of divorce laws.
Upon her arrest Farghadani was held in Evin Prison; where she was detained intermittently in solitary confinement. Following her act of defiance by undergoing a hunger strike, she was temporarily released. However she was soon re-arrested after speaking to the media and posting on YouTube about her ordeal. At this stage she was beaten before her family and then returned to prison, where shortly after Farghadani then suffered a heart attack – and after a brief hospitalization was moved back into solitary confinement at Evin Prison, where she currently remains.
So if you are about London, be sure to take the time to view this thoughtful piece, and reflect upon the position of another artist in the world, being condemned and brutalized for her art, and be thankful that we are in a place where politically challenging pieces, such as this, can be openly displayed.
Zbiok starting his work on Day 1.
Zbiok at work on Day 2.
Zbiok at work on Day 2.
Stark imagery of the person cowering and hiding away from the world.
Brutal depiction of a victim of State punishments, suchs a public flogging.