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Banksy: More Than A Controversial Artist

by Vrinda Jain
Banksy: More Than A Controversial Artist

February 25, 2021

Banksy is one of the most famous graffiti artist globally, with his works gaining widespread recognition and receiving criticism, many claim that Banksy is simply a vandal.

As his artwork attracts conflicting views, his new stunt has also stirred controversy. Girl with Balloon is one of Banksy’s most popular series of art works, having first appeared on the Waterloo Bridge as a stencil mural in 2002. A few years later, he gave a friend a painting that was an adaptation of a mural. This artwork was sold at Sotheby’s auction on October 5, 2018, for £1 million. Within seconds of the slide, the painting began to shred itself. Banksy was apparently shredding the painting using some remote activation system.

Since his artwork includes painting on public walls and graffiti, many have called it vandalism. But does it portray activism, vandalism or merely just art?

Banksy’s-Spy-Booth-artwork-scoolbuzz
Banksy’s Spy Booth artwork appeared on the wall of a privately-owned house overnight in April 2014.

Who Is Banksy?

Banksy made his debut in the 1990s with freehand graffiti in the Bristol underground scene. He then moved to stencils, which is the form he still uses today. He has produced countless well-known pieces of insurgent messages throughout the years, many of them directed at socio-political issues. His other work covers the current refugee crisis, the rights of LGBTQ+, and also the essential value of kindness.

While many people have tried to guess who he is, his identity has not yet been revealed. Street art and graffiti may be considered criminal damage, so the artist was initially thought to remain anonymous to stay out of trouble.

Art Or Vandalism?

What amounts to property damage is commonly interpreted and involves where the damage is both temporary and minor. For example, the courts have historically held that coating a pavement with water-soluble paint would damage the pavement, despite being removed easily. Damage usually means that the property has been made unusable. The expense of fixing the property is incurred, or that the property has otherwise been decreased in value. At the same time, we would usually conclude that graffiti amounts to criminal harm, graffiti of artistic quality or monetary value can instead improve the land’s value.

But what happens if the person who has faced the damages makes a complaint of criminal damages against Banksy?

An individual has a valid reason if, at the time of the act or actions alleged to constitute an offence, he or she assumed that the person whom he or she believed to be entitled to agree to the destruction of the property in question had consented to it or had consented to it if he or she had known of the destruction or damage and its circumstances.

Banksy-Slave-Labour-street-art-mural-scoolbuzz
This graffiti piece was produced by Banksy to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012 and shows a child labourer working to produce union jack bunting in celebration of the event. The work did not last long and was removed in early February 2013.

The Most Controversial Arts By Banksy

Girl With Balloon

On October 5, 2018, at Sotheby’s Auction House, the audience watched in horror as the Banksy item ‘Girl With Balloon’ started to shred. The piece had only been priced for $1.4 million, and now it’s assumed that the half shredded art is worth considerably more than that. Art critics have said that this reflects the fact that art is being choked to death by capital. The decadence and materialism of the art world is totally at odds with what lies at the core of street art.

The-Banality-of-the-Banality-of-Evil-scoolbuzz
The artist’s thinking falls in line with that of many contemporary political theorists and their rejection of the “banality of evil” – the idea that many of history’s great evils, instead of being carried out by fanatics or sociopaths, were instead done by ordinary people who accepted the premises of their state and thus their actions, as “normal.”

Banality Of The Evil

This piece was found in a thrift store in New York City during Banksy’s residence in over there. The art titled as ‘The Banality of the Banality of the Evil,’ is a piece that Banksy bought from the same thrift store and vandalised it. The art portrays a Nazi sitting on a bench, looking at an American landscape. It was then donated back to the Thrift shop. The title of the piece indicates that this is a snarky take on how evil sometimes dwells in the world.

Banksy-Rage-Protester-Man-Throwing-Flowers-scoolbuzz
The masked rioter is throwing not a “Molotov Cocktail” but a bunch of flowers and the image was featured heavily in Banksy’s 2005 book entitled “Wall and Piece”.

Rage, Flower Thrower

This piece is probably one of Banksy’s best-known works. It is located in Jerusalem and is now protected by a protective perspex board. The picture is thought to be a reaction to an attack that occurred in Jerusalem in 2005. During a gay pride march, militant homophobic demonstrators stabbed three people to death and wounded dozens of others. In stark contrast to the monochromatic protestor, the vivid colour of the flowers represents the colours of gay pride.

Banksy-Dismaland-theme-park-Cinderella’s-Castle-scoolbuzz
“This is a theme park like no other,” intoned the cheekily slick promo spot for Banksy’s most notorious installation. Launched in 2015, Dismaland was a faux-family-friendly destination on the British seaside. Modeled, of course, on Disneyland, Banksy’s iteration was purposefully bleak, aggressive rather than escapist.

Dismaland- Bemusement Park

In one of Banksy’s most divisive and wordy remarks, he opened his amusement park, or ‘bemusement park,’ as he refers to it. Dismaland is the futuristic version of Disneyland in Weston-Super-Mare, UK. Visitors to the park can find three art galleries and a range of immersive and spellbinding experiences. There are also a variety of strange and insidious carnival rides. When asked about his inspiration in the making Dismaland, Banksy said, “It’s a theme park with a big theme – theme parks should have bigger themes.” It’s generally agreed that the entire experience is a consumerism critic, one of Banksy’s well-known bugbears.

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