Every time Banksy strikes, be it a new wall piece or even an amusement park, it’s almost regarded as world news. The renowned and anonymous street artist’s newest piece leverages Apple co-founder Steve Jobs to highlight the refugee crisis. The image of Jobs appeared Friday in a refugee camp located in Calais, France. Known as “the Jungle“, the camp serves as a home for 7,000 migrants trying to enter the United Kingdom. Living conditions are harsh as migrants primarily from Syria, Afghanistan and Eritrea try to escape to new lives and jobs across the English Channel.
So why did Banksy elect Steve Jobs as his subject? In a statement accompanying the work, Banksy said he chose Jobs because the Apple co-founder was the son of a Syrian immigrant. “We’re often led to believe migration is a drain on the country’s resources but Steve Jobs was the son of a Syrian migrant,” said Banksy. “Apple is the world’s most profitable company, it pays over $7 billion a year in taxes, and it only exists because they allowed in a young man from Homs.”
Banksy painted Jobs in his typical turtleneck with an old Apple computer in one hand and a sack thrown over his shoulder. The artists usually takes a very satirical tone with his pieces, commenting on the blemishes and failures of society, and his newest work aims to draw attention to the negative views on migration and the refugee crisis. The graffiti next to Banksy’s actually translate to “Nobody deserves to live this way!”
Banksy gets some props for bringing to light societal topics that are swept under the rug, like he did in the Gaza Strip, but he also brings a lot of unnecessary hype. During his New York City residency several years ago, he was painting occasionally in some of the more challenged neighborhoods in the city. This ultimately brought a bunch of yuppies and hype chasers to these neighborhoods, and many residents felt exploited. I hope people don’t venture to these refugee camps just to snap picture in front the Steve Jobs piece because that would be extremely tasteless.