World renowned anonymous street artist Banksy returned to New York City this past week with a couple new works. The first is in Greenwich Village on 14th St and 6th Ave, where a rat could be found painted on a clock above a former bank building. Banksy revealed the new piece on his Instagram account, but didn’t mention much about the significance of the piece. Some have speculated that it represents the constant rat race in NYC, as the hustle and grind can have anyone feel like they’re running around in circles. The old bank is been heading for demolition later this year.
The second piece is down near the East Village on the corner of Houston and the Bowery, an intersection where many of the top street and contemporary artists have presented murals. The 70 foot work is more political and protests the incarceration of a Turkish-Kurdish artist and journalist Zehra Dogan. Dogan was imprisoned a year ago for a public art piece depicting the destruction of a Kurdish town, with the Turkish flag hanging over it.
“I really feel for her. I’ve painted things much more worthy of a custodial sentence,” Banksy said in a statement to the New York Times.
Banksy’s tribute depicts hash marks that represent both jail bars and the number of days Dogan has been in jail. There’s also an image of Dogan peering out of one of the cells, while gripping a bar that doubles as a pencil.
Another piece popped up on the side of an abandoned gas station in Midwood, Brooklyn and also comments on how capitalism is dictating our daily lives.
The artist’s latest work in NYC comes 5 years after his month long residency in 2013 where he unveiled a new piece everyday for 30 days.