Banksy prints are quite notable in the art industry, due to their rarity, price and the mystery of their artist’s true identity, who is known for making bold political statements with his stencil-based street art.
Indeed, one such bold statement was made once again by the artist, a three-story large mural showing the European Flag, with one notable change. One of the stars in the European Union’s flag, the one representing Britain, had a workman with hammer and chisel in hand, chipping away at the star. The mural was banal, but also quite symbolic and sad, a simple piece lamenting at the state of Britain’s place in the European Union following Brexit.
The mural was seen early May, on the Monday a few days before the reveal of the results of France’s presidential vote, which was won by the former investment banker Emmanuel Macron, who was a notable supporter of the European Union, and whose election would likely mean that France is set to be sitting at the center of the EU, whilst Britain looks inwardly from the outside.
The paint of the mural had not even fully dried when social media in the country was already buzzing about the mural and as to who was behind it, only for Banksy to end the discussion by posting photographs of his work on his official Instagram feed the Sunday following the mural’s discovery.
Some people were doubtful and critical of the piece, calling in unoriginal and boring.
Some, like ecologist Mel Lloyd, stated that the mural was perfectly place and timed. The mural, which was located on the facade of a building, was situated right next to the A20 in Dover, close to the city’s ferry terminal, one of Europe’s major aquatic entry points into the country. He states that the any traffic going to and fro Dover Port was likely to see the mural. Additionally, the majority of the residents of the city of Dover voted in agreement of Brexit.
Banksy is known for their anonymity, despite their notable political art all over the world, which have made for very expensive and collectable Banksy prints.
2 years ago, in 2015, they made several pieces at ‘The Jungle’, a ramshackle camp for migrants from the Middle East who were trying to reach Britain. Notably, one such piece showed the founder of Apple, Steve Jobs, who happened to be the son of a Syrian immigrant.
Most recently, Banksy opened their first hotel, ‘The Walled-Off Hotel’, with what are advertised to be rooms with the worst view in the world, due to being located right next to the Israeli West Bank separation barrier, which was designed to keep Palestinians out. As with other of Banksy’s work, it has garnered both praise and criticism, for bringing focus on the problems of Palestinians, and for creating what is considered as ‘oppression tourism’.