Women Leading Artistic Graffiti Growth in Istanbul

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Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city, is witnessing an explosion of graffiti art.

Many of those driving this wave of colorful artistic expression are women. Gamze Yalcin is one of them. She has been painting graffiti on Istanbul’s walls for the past six years.

Yalcin, a trained artist, told VOA it is exciting to see continual growth of graffiti art across the city.

“More and more, the new generation are very into painting on the streets. But for me it is still very much at the beginning,” she said.

Yalcin spoke to VOA as she worked to finish her latest art project on the wall of an abandoned building in Istanbul’s Tophane district. She says a lot of the graffiti art deals with women and women’s issues.

In some countries, marking up buildings with graffiti is considered a serious crime.

Human rights groups and other countries have criticized Turkey’s government for restricting forms of free expression. They accuse the government of taking steps to limit news reporting and stop political critics.

But Yalcin says that while there are more Turkish rules for street art today than in the past, graffiti artists are generally left alone.

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