Video Review: Live Painting for the Day of the Imprisoned Writer

Artists Peru Dyer Jalea, Aidan Hayles, and Gilda Monreal honour persecuted writers

Hayles’ portrait of Meza brought her fighting spirit to life. She is a Honduran journalist and human rights defender. Her case was highlighted by PEN International as an example of the repression that online writers face in Honduras. Since 2006, she has been harassed and threatened. She is currently a writer in exile and works as the director of digital and alternative media at the Honduran Human Rights NGO Committee of Relatives of the Detainees and Disappeared in Honduras.

Dyer Jalea represented Nurmuhemmett Yasin with a pigeon in honour of his short story The Wild Pigeon. It recounts the experiences of a young pigeon trapped and caged by humans while trying to find a new home for its flock. Instead of forfeiting its freedom, the pigeon kills itself by swallowing a poisonous strawberry, a choice that Yasin’s own father had made in similar circumstances several years earlier. He is currently serving a 10-year sentence for inciting Uighur separatism with his story.

Monreal painted a portrait of Ethiopian journalist and editor Nega who is currently serving an 18-year sentence for writing about the implications of the Arab Spring. Each of the artists chose a quote from the writer to accompany their portrait. She chose to include a line from the letter he wrote following the Supreme Court’s decision to dismiss his appeal on the charges: “Democracy is a destiny of humanity which cannot be averted. It can be delayed but not defeated.”

Thank you to everyone who joined us for the Day of the Imprisoned Writer!

For more information about the writers and artists, check out our event page here.

For photos of our event, check out our album on Facebook here.

Photo credit: Katrina Afonso