Located just a few feet away from the Israeli West Bank barrier, the Walled Off Hotel in Bethlehem is an exceptional space that offers visitors an immersive experience that goes beyond just accommodation. The hotel is adorned with Banksy’s striking artworks, providing a powerful and poignant political and social commentary on the region.
The hotel offers a one-of-a-kind experience, with ten guest rooms uniquely designed by invited artists and a presidential suite that bears Banksy’s signature style. Apart from the guest rooms, the hotel has a museum exhibit that showcases the area’s history, providing an educational and informative experience. The hotel’s art gallery also stands out, displaying a brilliant collection of artworks by local artists. Moreover, the piano bar is another unique feature that sets this hotel apart, where visitors can listen to famous artists from all over the world play the piano remotely, while local musicians play regularly, creating a soothing atmosphere for guests to relax and unwind.
The hotel has an extensive selection of collectables that go beyond mere keepsakes. These collectables are a symbol of the community’s strength and a means of supporting the hotel. The initial collectable was the Walled Off Hotel Boxset which featured a digital print of one of Banksy’s murals from Gaza. Subsequently, Banksy created a set of miniature sculptures depicting the wall, complete with graffiti, which local artists painted to resemble the West Bank barrier.
In our editorial, we take a closer look at the artwork collectables, highlighting their significance and the messages they convey.
The Walled Off Hotel Boxset is a poignant piece of art exclusively available for in-person purchase at Banksy’s Walled Off Hotel in Bethlehem. It features a high-quality digital print based on the original mural created by Banksy on the main road in Beit Lahiya, in the northern Gaza Strip, in Feb 2015.
The mural conveys a poignant message about the resilience and innocence of children caught in the crossfire of war and conflict. It reminds us of the universal desire of children to play and have fun, regardless of their circumstances. It is a remarkable piece of art highlighting the need for peace and compassion in the world, especially for those who are most vulnerable.
What sets this artwork apart is that Banksy has captured the essence of childhood joy and carefree playfulness while conveying the deeper themes of freedom and escapism.
Banksy in Gaza. Image copyright Banksy
The image for the Walled Off Hotel Boxset is a monochrome representation of the artwork on view at the Walled Off Hotel in Bethlehem. This artwork beautifully captures the joyous moments of children swinging on a ride they have improvised on an Israeli army watchtower. The intricate detailing of the artwork showcases the children’s exhilarating experience with great precision. The watchtower’s door appears broken, and graffiti covers the base, hinting at its abandoned state. Despite playing on a symbol of oppression, Banksy emphasises the human spirit’s resilience and strength, showcasing the need for joy, peace, and a glimpse of hope.
Banksy Walled off Hotel, Bethlehem.
The Walled Off Hotel Boxset also includes a unique piece of concrete hand-sprayed in either red, green, or both colours, referencing the Palestinian flag. The concrete adds an additional layer of authenticity and texture to the artwork. The boxset comes in a subtle white box frame that enhances the artwork and comes with a purchase receipt from The Walled Off Hotel.
The Walled Off Hotel Sculptures
A collection of miniature sculptures was created by Banksy and made exclusively available for purchase at the hotel. These sculptures were crafted to resemble the wall, adorned with graffiti, and some even featured a Banksy figure in the midst of spray painting. The result was a unique set of souvenirs that captured the essence of the West Bank barrier.
When they were first introduced in 2017, the sculptures depicted the barrier wall with graffiti on individual sections. The graffiti included messages of “Love” and “Hope” as well as a tribute to peace advocate “Brian“, which was painted by local artists based on Banksy’s original designs. These sections were sold separately or taped together to represent a wider view of the wall. Over time, as the sculptures evolved, the sculptures underwent certain changes in their structure and designs. For instance, an Israeli watchtower was added, and the wall was depicted as being defeated.
The sculpture includes the original sculptures that were available for sale at the Walled Off Hotel towards the end of 2017. It depicts a hooded figure, who is believed to be Banksy, spray painting the word “Love” on the West Bank barrier.
The sculpture includes the original sculptures that were available for sale at the Walled Off Hotel towards the end of 2017. It depicts a hooded figure, who is believed to be Banksy, spray painting the word “Hope” on the West Bank barrier.
The Banksy – Walled Off Hotel “Love is in the Air / Flower Thrower” sculpture is a thought-provoking piece of art that draws inspiration from a renowned mural by Banksy, painted on the exterior of a garage in Jerusalem, West Bank in 2003.
Banksy – Love is in the Air (Flower Thrower), Jerusalem. Image @ GraffitiStreet.com
Love is in the air / Flower Thrower portrays a militant figure dressed in a baseball cap and bandana, poised to throw a bouquet of flowers instead of a weapon, symbolising the need for peace and love instead of violence.
The iconic artwork is also displayed in the hotel’s piano bar, beautifully presented as a triptych in a gold frame with dried flowers (read more).
The Banksy – Walled Off Hotel “Gaza Kitty … I want my ball back” sculpture is a striking piece that draws inspiration from his mural painted in Gaza. The original mural, which depicts a kitten playing with a ball of rusted metal, was created by Banksy during his visit to the area in 2015, where he accessed Gaza through a series of underground tunnels. Banksy painted the mural to draw attention to the destruction in Gaza but also to highlight the fact that people on the Internet tend to overlook important issues in favour of cute animal pictures.
Banksy ‘Kitten’ in Gaza 2015. Image Copyright Banksy
The Walled Off Hotel “Gaza Kitty … I want my ball back” sculpture integrates the Gaza mural which is now painted onto the imposing walls of the West Bank barrier sculpture. The sculpture is complete with the rusty ball as true to the mural, whereas graffiti has been added with the words ” I want my ball back”. In true Banksy style, the assertive message is a powerful symbol of coexistence and understanding that transcends boundaries. The sculpture serves as a reminder of the significance of compassion and empathy towards our neighbours, and it represents the hope for peace and reconciliation.
Walled Off Hotel Defeated Sculptures
The second series of ‘defeated’ sculptures offered were larger and showcased the West Bank barrier in a state of decay. Several of these pieces have a hooded figure believed to be Banksy standing beside the wall, adding graffiti or breaking through the wall using a mallet. These artworks serve as anticipatory objects that portray hope and an end of the wall.
The Banksy – Walled Off Hotel Defeated “Helium Balloon Love Hurts” sculpture is a thought-provoking piece of art that draws inspiration from the artwork located above the four-poster bed in the Banksy designed presidential suite of the Walled Off Hotel.
Banksy Walled off Hotel, Presidential suite, Bethlehem.
The Walled Off Hotel Defeated “Helium Balloon Love Hurts” sculpture features a painted silver inflatable heart with two crossed gold plasters, with unsettling barbed wire in front of it and a Banksy figure graffitiing on the wall. The intricate layering of imagery in the sculpture conveys a deeper meaning that speaks volumes about love, hurt and resilience.
The Banksy – Walled Off Hotel Defeated “Girl with Balloon” sculpture features arguably one of Banksy’s most renowned murals.
Banksy’s ‘Girl with Balloon’ . Image Copyright Banksy
The Walled Off Hotel Defeated “Girl with Balloon” sculpture portrays a young girl reaching for, or letting go of, a red heart-shaped balloon, which has become an iconic symbol of Banksy’s work. The sculpture also incorporates a hooded figure, believed to be Banksy himself, alongside the Palestinian flag and graffiti that spells out the words “Love” and “Freedom,” as well as symbols of peace and Yin and Yang. Together, these elements add nuance and depth to the artwork, turning it into a powerful commentary on issues such as identity, hope, freedom, and coexistence. The artwork also reinforces Banksy’s dedication to Palestine and his use of art to illuminate critical social and political issues in the region.
The Walled Off Hotel collectibles represent more than just a simple memory of a place and time. There are many more sculptures, each one conveys a meaningful message about the political and social issues in the region. Whether it’s a symbol of resistance or a call for peaceful coexistence, every souvenir is a powerful reminder of the importance of love, understanding, and hope for peace.
Visit our online store for a selection of Banksy Walled Off Hotel artworks, as well as other pieces of iconic art by Banksy. In the event that you are unable to locate a particular artwork, please do not hesitate to contact us in your search for that elusive piece.