The Meaning Behind Banksy’s ‘Stop and Search’ – Explained

The artwork “Banksy Stop and Search (2007) ” skillfully depicts the absurdity of the “Stop and Search” practices that were prevalent in the UK in 2007. The artwork draws inspiration from the classic literary work “The Wizard of Oz” and presents a captivating storyline to convey its message.

This monochrome piece features the central character, Dorothy, standing in the middle of the composition with her loyal dog, Toto, and a police officer who is the only character with a pop of colour – blue latex gloves that pay homage to Dorothy’s iconic gingham dress.

Banksy’s “Stop and Search Signed Screen Print.

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The police officer is depicted wearing a uniform and a riot helmet, with his shield up, revealing his face, and holding Dorothy’s basket while carrying a baton on his hip. Despite the tension between the characters, the officer looks relaxed and exudes a sense of power and authority over Dorothy.

In contrast, Dorothy looks visibly tense, apprehensive, and taken aback by the officer’s actions, with her fists clenched and her gaze fixed on the basket. On the other hand, her dog, Toto, appears calm and collected, adding an interesting contrast to the scene. The artwork brilliantly conveys the tension and power dynamics between the characters.

Banksy’s “Stop and Search” artwork resonated with the concerns raised in 2007 about the misuse of stop-and-search powers by the police under anti-terror laws. The official figures showed a dramatic surge in the use of these powers, which were disproportionately targeted against black and Asian people.

Banksy’s artwork reflects this absurdity of the police search in its composition and is a powerful commentary on the overreaching and abuses of power. The impact is heightened by the contrast between Dorothy’s innocent and pure character and still being subjected to invasive searches, highlighting the indiscriminate and unjust nature of stop-and-search practices.

This limited-edition print is part of a series of 500 signed prints, making it a highly sought-after piece among art collectors and enthusiasts. Its unique blend of storytelling, composition, and themes of power dynamics and authority make it a true Banksy masterpiece.

Banksy – Stop and Search

Medium: Screen print on paper

Edition: 500

Size: 75 x 84 cm. | 29.5 x 33.1 in.

Description: Signed & numbered by The Artist.

Year: 2007

At the GraffitiStreet store, we offer an extensive collection of artworks, including Banksy’s “Stop and Search Signed Screen Print” If you can’t find the print you’re searching for, please contact us, and we’ll be happy to locate it for you.



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