Banksy: more than graffiti
I am sure that if I said Banksy or the ‘’anonymous’’ artist, most people will know whom I am talking about. With his/her amazing graffiti and being an international prankster, this English creator has become one of the world’s most recognized artists in our times. Despite the personal painting style within the street art, the powerful messages launch satire, subversion, dark humor and even irony in order to create resonant social, political and humanist thinking for the masses. From 2000, Banksy’s art started to be known. The paintings began to become viral and social media were very interested in finding his or her identity out. Following, we are going to reflect on some of the astonishing graffiti that she/he has gifted us:
Figure 1: Mobile lovers, Banksy. Retrieved from
The Mobile Lovers appeared in Bristol, United Kingdom, on a wall of a club. This picture perhaps has one of the clearest messages since there is a couple hugging each other meanwhile they are looking at their smartphones. The current addiction and the fake needs created by media have put technology on the top of the population’s priorities. Sometimes, it seems that people are always paying attention to a screen rather than communicate with each other through their human skills, trusting more in a virtual world than a real world.
Figure 2: Flower thrower. Banksy. Retrieved from
The man with a flower bouquet painted in Jerusalem is one of the most well-known pieces of the artist. The masked rioter is throwing a bunch of flowers instead of a ‘’molotov cocktail’’. So, the picture’s symbolism shows us the art of making peace. Whatever you are, whatever you look like, whatever you want to be: it always starts with peace. Turning hate speech into love speech is not an easy task, but it is a needed job to develop a just world, indeed.
Figure 3: Steve Jobs. Banksy. Retrieved from
Steve Jobs was painted in Calais refugee camp in 2015, which is located in France. As we can see, Steve Jobs is shown as a refugee with a large black garbage sack and carrying the original Apple computer. This piece is a strong statement regarding the current migrant crisis in Europe and a clear reference to Steve Jobs actual background as the son of a Syrian migrant, who moved to the United States after the World War II. It must be remembered that Steve Jobs was a migrant’s son, Apple is the world’s most profitable company and it only exists because someday, someone gave an opportunity to a man from Homs.
Figure 4: Cameraman and flower, Banksy. Retrieved from
A cameraman with a flower was seen in a Park City in Utah, USA. The image is showing us a filmmaker taking a flower in order to record it. The symbolic idea of this piece could be selfishness. In order to conserve the beauty, people are capable of destroying the environment just because they are following their interests. These kinds of actions pass the consequences over, and in that way, people forget the respect towards other human beings and nature.
Figure 6: Napalm girl, Banksy. Retrieved from
Napalm girl was created in 2004, based on the iconic photograph of a young girl during the Napalm bombing in Vietnam in the seventies. In Banksy’s version looks like Ronald McDonald and Mickey Mouse are kidnapping the terrified naked child. It can represent a lot of things, but the main focus is on the USA and its attitude to the rest of the countries. The ideas of the conflict of American consumerism versus the outside world and the extreme capitalism controlling other countries are very present in this picture.
Figure 7: Follow your dreams – canceled, Banksy. Retrieved from
This piece was found in Boston in 2010. We can see a sad looking working class painter who painted the words ‘’follow your dreams’’ before having the word ‘’ canceled’’ stamped on it. The message here is again against the established system, sometimes, it seems that we have to be inside the defined order because otherwise, we will not ‘’good’’ seen by others. ‘’Follow your dreams’’ can be a utopian concept but on the same line, it is really important to have motivation, creation spaces and to learn other ways to develop ourselves.
Figure 8: There’s always hope, Banksy. Retrieved from
Finally, ‘’there is always hope’’ is possibly the most famous painting of the artist. The picture shows a little girl trying to get her balloon, which is already flying away. Lots of meanings are expressed here, especially encouraged by the words next to the image. We can talk about peace, happiness, innocence or even dreams. The girl could be representing us trying to achieve our life goals unsuccessfully or on the other hand, letting things go. But if we keep the focus on both, words and image, there has to be hope. Having aspirations and goals in life are essential, people make progress if they have something to reach. In conclusion, we do not know who is this artist, but we do not need to know it for understanding the messages of their pieces. Banksy let people think and make their own judgments in order to reflect on how our actions and behaviours can influence others.
Get to know more:
Banksy documentary. Exit Through the Gift Shop. Retrieved from
Canvas Art Rocks. Amazing Banksy Graffiti Artworks With Locations. Retrieved from
Kordic, A. (2015). What is The Meaning Behind the New Banksy Piece in Calais? Widewalls. Retrieved from
Street Art Bio. About Banksy Biography. Retrieved from
Zaynabkjp. Napalm (2004-5) Banksy. Retrieved from