Amid Growing Repression, Turkey’s Women Graffiti Artists Shine

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People regularly stop, to offer Yalcin encouragement as she paints, while others take photos of her work.

“These are not ordinary doodling, but something that makes the places more beautiful,” said Ulas a local restaurant manager, “coloring the walls and shop fronts is beautiful rather than having shutters down or derelict walls bare. This is much more colorful. When you wake up in the morning streets, look much different. I think this is super.”

Despite a heavy police presence in central Istanbul as part of an ongoing crackdown on political dissent, the graffiti wave sweeping parts of the city has met little resistance from authorities.

“I didn’t have trouble yet, and I hope it goes like this,” Yalcin said. “Sometimes they [police] see me, they say actually it is forbidden, but that is fine. And they say ‘thank you, thank you for creating art for our places,’” she adds, laughing.

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