This sprayed work appeared in Hunstanton Norfolk over Christmas, on the Prom. Some locals think the sunbathing rat is by Banksy. As everyone familiar with the Bristol born artist knows, rats often feature in his many murals. Liz Falconbridge, an arts and education manager at King’s Lynn Arts Centre, said: “My considered view is that it probably isn’t Banksy – as it’s too tame and not edgy enough. The graphic style is also different, though of course this could all be part of the ruse. “Whoever did it certainly has talent though and will have made a lot of people smile and that can’t be a bad thing.” A similar-sized rat, appeared outside a Glasgow curry house before Christmas and has subsquently been insured for £20,000 by its owners, who say the pictures have attracted a flood of tourists. The seaside resort’s staff usually clean off any graffiti.
Banksy’s work typically includes satirical social and political commentary, and ranges from murals to sculpture and installation, often playing with the contextual aspects of the work. The artist’s first solo show was held in 2002 at Los Angeles’ 33 1/3 Gallery, and in 2003 he was commissioned to design to cover of Blur’s ThinkTank. Today, Banksy’s work appears internationally; most notably, he painted nine sardonic images on the Palestinian side of the West Bank barrier. In Summer 2009, Banksy took over the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery with an exhibition attracting over 300,000 visitors and hour-long queues all the way down the road. Most recently the artist has experimented with film, achieving an Oscar nomination for his documentary Exit Through The Gift Shop.
Words/Photo: Chris Bishop and Carole Berg