Banksy has chosen one of the world’s most embattled regions, Gaza, as the location for his most recent murals. The elusive street artist has never been afraid to take a social or political stance in his work, and he went to great lengths to express his thoughts on the plight in Palestine. The tone is extremely more serious than his New York residency from a couple of years ago, when he sent people on a wild goose chase to track down his paintings. I’m sure that people aren’t going to be flying to the Gaza Strip for his current exhibition.
This was his second round in Palestine, visiting for the first time several years ago, and he painted 4 pieces: a lady weeping in the doorway of a demolished building, a giant kitten playing with a ball of barbwire, a prison tower that acted as a swing carousel, and a short proverb on a wall. One resident asked Banksy the meaning behind the kitten. The artists replied: “I wanted to highlight the destruction in Gaza by posting photos on my website – but on the internet people only look at pictures of kittens.” To accompany the paintings, he filmed a travel video that used a very sarcastic and ironic tone to depict the demoralized and dilapidated region as a “tourist destination”.
Sometimes people fail to see the message behind Banksy’s artwork and are too busy snapping photos for the ‘Gram to realize the meaning behind it. If you watched his documentaries or read details about his pieces, you would see that Banksy has a pretty cynical sense of humor and he uses it to speak on some major cultural issues. Love him or hate him, you can’t discredit his undeniable ability to make people notice. Take for instance his New York residency. Banksy painted a good amount of his pieces in neighborhoods (some pretty rough ones) in the outer boroughs that most people would never venture to. He was forcing them to notice these neighborhoods and how different from what most people picture New York (Manhattan) to be. I’m sure his Gaza murals are creating a frenzy and are putting people on to the conflict that’s been going on for ages. People do like cat pictures. Check out his site for more pictures.