Bristol-based artist, Banksy, has become notorious in the UK for his subversive and affecting art, which takes many forms, including political stencils sprayed on outside walls and rogue installations in both UK and New York art galleries. Although he prefers to remain anonymous, Banksy’s work is well known: he has designed an album cover for the internationally famous band, Blur, published three books of graffiti art and in both 2003 and 2005 staged exhibitions of his work.
In August, Banksy ventured further afield and nine of his distinctive images appeared on the Palestinian side of Is-rael’s separation wall. These Included stencils of a ladder scaling the wall, a woman being lifted over by children’s balloons and two children digging to paradise and freedom on the other side’.
Reactions to the wall’ stencils were mixed. Banksy’s website reports that while he was working, an elderly man approached and said that his designs were making the wall look beautiful; but when Banksy thanked him, the man replied: ‘We don’t want it to be beauti-ful, we hate this wall.’
Spokeswoman for Banksy, Jo Brooks, commented that: ‘Israeli security forces shot in the air threateningly and there were quite a few guns pointed at him.’ However Banksy’s finished designs are still on the wall.
The Israeli authorities see the wall as protection but it has been deemed illegal by the United Nations, who have ordered it to be dismantled. Banksy’s feelings about the wall were made clear in a statement in which he said: ‘The Israeli Government is building a wall surrounding the occupied Palestinian territories. It’s three times higher than the Berlin Wall and will eventually run for over 700 kilometres ñ the distance from London to Zurich! The wall is illegal under international law.’
Banksy’s images are a potent form of social commentary. His peaceful but thought-provoking protest demonstrates the power that art can have within the political sector.
Left: a window seat on Israel’s wall.
Photo: © Banksy