The Meaning Behind Banksy’s ‘Rat Race’ – Explained

Banksy’s “Rat Race” is a powerful piece of Banksy’s works; a rat often plays a crucial role. A rat runs up as if stuck in a wheel, symbolising the never-ending rat race we all experience. The artwork reflects modern society’s fast-paced, competitive nature, where material possessions and financial gain often measure success.

The piece was seen in 2009, as Banksy tagged signs in London’s Whitechapel area with the image of the rat running on signs saying “No Stopping Mon-Sat-8 am-6 pm.” The rat is trapped in a cycle of endless race with no real purpose or end.

The use of stencils and spray paint is characteristic of Banksy’s style, and the simplicity of the image allows it to be reproduced quickly and easily, which is important for a street artist who needs to work quickly and often under the cover of darkness.

Image copyright Banksy 2009 Whitechapel

The piece is a powerful commentary on the futility of modern life and presents a thought-provoking perspective on the meaninglessness of contemporary existence. It highlights how individuals are frequently caught in a never-ending loop of work, struggling to make ends meet, and devoid of any real sense of direction or purpose. The rat, much like many individuals, seems to be just existing rather than truly living, devoid of any meaningful experiences.

Banksy’s “Rat Race” has made its way into clocks now on display at the “Walled Off Hotel” in Palestine. Additionally, the artwork has just been featured at his “GDP Store” in Croydon and gifted as a single rat “GDP Rat” to children as screenprints during the store’s event. The Banksy™ Clock was available via his online store, now sold out.

Find the artwork here.

If you are a fan of Banksy’s “Rat Race” artwork, we are pleased to inform you that we have the “GDP Rat” screen print available in our online store here.



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