Following the Gezi Uprising, my friend Fatma Belkis and I felt the need to learn from the grassroots struggle against the construction of run-of-the-river-type hydroelectric power plants in various valleys in Anatolia since 1998. The shared slogan “Rivers will flow free” strongly resonated with us as a radical desire for the right to life for all beings. In the valleys we visited, we encountered value systems and forms of life that flow against the mainstream of progress and profit-driven neoliberal agendas. Women are at the forefront of the struggle as their sustenance, identity, and everyday life are rooted deeply in ecosystems dependent on flowing water. Resisting private companies and the state with hazelnut sticks in their hands, they speak with determination: “I’ll give my life, I won’t give up my water!” The watercolor series emerged from the process...

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