Who is Banksy? Who are Banksy? What is Banksy? There are so many questions we can't answer for decades now! However, we are always thrilled when we see the news about a new graffiti made by a legendary person (or a group of them) somewhere in the world. Banksy's eye-opening political statements depicted in a single picture on some wall can teach us a lot! So here are his (or theirs) top ten best works so far!
10. Girl with a Balloon
British people could see this graffiti in 2002 as it started popping up around the country. This one depicts a young girl with her back straight trying to reach a balloon with her right arm. The balloon is red heart-shaped, and the wind blows it away. We assume it represents an endless hope of young ones not wanting to grow up but continue with carefree lives.
In 2018 the same work, now named "Love is in the Bin," was painted and put on an auction by the famous auction house "Sotheby's." Fascinatingly, someone bought it for more than $1,300,000! But the moment the winner was announced, the artwork was self-destroyed in the frame by going into shreds! People say this was among the most influential art performances made in front of the public.
9. Kissing Coppers
The artwork showing two police officers hugging and kissing was first seen in 2004 in one pub in Brighton. This British town is the unofficial LGBTQ+ capital of Great Britain, so no wonder Banksy chose this location. However, no one can say for sure if it's an image to mock the police force or raise awareness of homophobic attacks happening in the town. Well, it could just be both!
The pub owner eventually removed the artwork and sold it in Miami for half a million dollars. Do you think it's OK to sell someone else's art and keep the money, even though you know the artist is active? Nevertheless, we have seen it, and we're grateful to Banksy for his continuous fighting for social justice.
8. Slave Labour
The London Olympics in 2012 we're about to begin, but Banksy wanted to show the world what was happening behind the scenes. Therefore, the artist made a mural in London, showing a boy on his knees with a sewing machine, making a Union flag. Banksy desired to show the poor condition and unfair work done by young people in the preparations of the grand Olympics.
The mural is small in size, at only 120 x 150 cm. Sadly, and contradictory to Banksy's beliefs, someone removed the mural and eventually sold it for one million dollars. Later he commented that no one should sell art pieces unless an artist wants to do so. We doubt Banksy is behind this sale because he continues to make art for the masses in public places.
7. Bomb Hunger
Bomb hunger is one of Banksy's early screenprints where he shows a young girl hugging an aircraft bomb. The art piece illustrates the fragility and innocence of childhood and the complex dichotomy of war and love. You can find this work featured in several of his books over the years.
The statement behind this art is that the media coverage of the war isn't proper and that no one should make peace this way. Another message this image implies is that innocence and love could help stop the war if put in the right direction. However, this was one of his early 21st century works, and since then, Banksy showed us a lot more and defined his point of view on this topic.
6. Armored Bomb Hunger
In Bethlehem (West Bank, Palestine), a wall separates some parts of the country. It's a result of an ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine, and we can see what Banksy thinks of it. On one section of the wall, there's an image of an armored dove depicted in typical Banksy style.
We can all immediately see what his powerful message was. Doves, those birds everyone takes as a peace sign, are well armored in this picture. In his view, there's no peace if you have several meters thick concrete walls separating families and friends.
5. Devolved Parliament
Painting oil on canvas depicting a British parliament is this legendary British artist's most recognizable artwork. Yet, there's a catch with a painting, of course. Instead of people arguing and debating, monkeys took their place! This is an accurate mocking presentation of top politicians.
He painted it in 2009, and it reached the price of a staggering nine million British pounds ten years later. After it got sold, Banksy wrote a message with a Robert Hughes line: "But the price of a work of art is now part of its function, its new job is to sit on the wall and get more expensive."
4. Love Is in the Air
One of Banksy's most seen images, "Love is in the Air," shows a rebel with his face covered, and instead of a bomb or a fire torch, he holds a flower bouquet. This image went around the world, and you have definitely seen it; if not, we hope you get the message! Today you can find it reprinted on many t-shirts, bags, wallpapers, etc.
Like many other images done by a talented artist, this one shows the other possible way of street fights. Why not exchange flower bouquets and redirect the negative energy into something positive? Like in most cases, the auction house sold this artwork for a lot of money, almost 13 million dollars!
3. Show me the Monet
Once again, we're stunned by how simple strokes of a paintbrush on canvas can open our eyes! Monet is one of the great painters of impressionism, and his painting of water lily pond got updated by Banksy in the 21st century. It shows a peaceful pond landscape, but with two supermarket trollies inside it!
What does Banksy want to tell us? We assume it's the negative effect our hyper-consumerism has on a fragile natural environment. We only have one planet Earth, and we have to learn to live in cooperation with it instead of creating disasters. If we're not going to re-question our beliefs and actions, we guess we have to wait for Banksy to show us!
2. Christmas present/Cardinal Sin
We all have seen the Hollywood movie "Spotlight" which shows a group of journalists writing a story about a child abuse scandal in the Catholic church. Well, that was only the start, and Banksy made an art piece worth mentioning about this topic. In 2011, he revealed a classical bust with a twist that shows a powerful message.
It's an 18th century bust of a cardinal, made classically, but whose face Banksy removed and replaced with blank tiles. Banksy wanted to depict a catholic priest as a pixelated image of criminals we see all around us. You can see the sculpture in the Walker Gallery in Liverpool.
1. The Walled off Hotel
In Bethlehem (West Bank, Palestina), there's a hotel facing the wall separating the town from the rest of the country. Banksy offered to decorate some of the rooms, and he did one hell of a job! Today you can visit this unusual hotel and sleep in one of the rooms designed by the mysterious British artist.
One art piece that stands out is the "Riot Bust," showing a young god from the ancient world. Instead of human arms, they are made of smoke from a smoke bomb while a cloak is over his mouth. Once again, Banksy shows us the whole specter of his possibilities as an artist and as a fighter for political and social justice.
Banksy succeeded in hiding his identity for many years, even though his work would always bring so much media attention. He would always do his work in secret, and one of his eye-opening graffitis, made with spray or stenciling technique, would pop up overnight.
We never know who he might be, as he maybe walks around the city watching people, reading newspapers in the park, or drinking coffee at the local cafe. Nevertheless, he's somewhere out there, like a superhero, and coming with one of his works to help us see the struggles of the modern world we're part of!
Do you have your favorite Banksy artwork in our top ten list? Did he do one of his images in your town? Share your thoughts on this topic with us!
Add new Comment
Thank you for comment