The Bristolian street artist Banksy has returned to Palestine to create another series of works, following his famous 2005 series painted on the West Bank barrier wall. This time Banksy has been busy in Gaza with a spoof video and a series of political murals to address arguably the most contentious controversial topic Banksy could have possibly used his stencil art to comment on – the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Gaza strip.
Along with images of the murals in Gaza, Banksy has released a short video. The video depicts a sarcastic twist of a travel video to Gaza often found in tourism. The video begins with a commercial plane in flight, with the opening words…. ‘Make this the year YOU discover a new destination’ . Then between the clouds a warm ‘Welcome to Gaza’ appears.
Banksy travelled to the Palestinian territory via a network of dark tunnels and he can be seen in the video scrambling in the dark . The video describes Gaza as ‘well away from the tourist track,’ then adding ‘access is via a network of illegal tunnels’.
The viewer is then shown the devastation of Gaza since the conflict with children playing among the rubble. ‘The locals like it so much they never leave,’ it says, continuing ‘because they’re not allowed to’.
“Gaza is often described as ‘the world’s largest open air prison’ because no-one is allowed to enter or leave. But that seems a bit unfair to prisons – they don’t have their electricity and drinking water cut off randomly almost every day.” Banksy
The video then describes Gaza being ‘nestled in an exclusive setting (surrounded by a wall on three sides and a line of gun boats on the other), watched over by friendly neighbours (in 2014 Operation Protective Edge destroyed 18,000 homes).’
Banksy sarcastically invites the viewers to see the opportunities Gaza has to offer.
‘Development opportunities are everywhere. (no cement has been allowed into Gaza since the bombing). ‘ then adding ‘plenty of scope for refurbishment.’
Banksy created some of his trademark spray painted artwork amongst the bombed rubble in the form of a stencil of children swinging from a watch tower as though it was a fairground ride.
The conflict in Gaza has seen the death of many palestinian civilians and over 500 children have been killed. The stencil below depicts Niobe, the classical figure who weeps for the loss of her children.
A third stencil on a demolished building is of a kitten playing with a coiled ball of rusted metal as if it was a soft ball of wool.
“A local man came up and said ‘Please – what does this mean?’ I explained I wanted to highlight the destruction in Gaza by posting photos on my website – but on the internet people only look at pictures of kittens.” Banksy
‘This cat tells the whole world that she is missing joy in her life,’ a local man says, pointing to the Banksy stencil.
‘The cat found something to play with. What about our children?, What about our children?.
The short video finishes with a handpainted message, written in blood red coloured paint.
“If we wash our hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless we side with the powerful – we don’t remain neutral.” Banksy
As usual with Banksy’s thought-provoking work the short video has a strong powerful message which through social media will travel across the world and once again capture our attention.
Watch the full video below.
Check out the Graffitistreet store for Banksy art for sale.
Images from Banksy.co.uk.