The famous Bristol street artist has been on the move, with graffiti stencils on concrete rubble popping up in Gaza criticising the ‘world’s largest open-air prison’ – include an image of a crying figure wearing a head scarf, a dark scene of children playing on a fairground ride, and a white kitten licking its paws.
Banksy posted photographs of his work to his official website, captioning the artist’s stencil of the crouching figure simply as “Bomb damage, Gaza City.” The artist added: “Gaza is often describes 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’s stencil of a giant kitten appeared among rubble in Gaza to make a specific, point as the artist went on to explain. Banksy wrote on his website: “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.”
The anonymous street artist also posted a video about Gaza on his website, entitled “Make this year the year YOU discover a new destination.” The spoof work sells Gaza as a desirable tourist destination to viewers. It includes the line: “the locals like it so much they never leave”, which Banksy then counters with comments such as “(because they’re not allowed to)”.
Recently the street artist was in the news again for his Cheltenham mural “Spy Booth”, which appeared last April on a house three miles from the top government listening post GCHQ. The work was granted listed protection, after the mural created international news coverage when it was splattered with white paint, sprayed with silver and defaced with red graffiti. At one point a thief attempted to cut the mural from the wall while the community fought the property owner over ownership of the artwork.