Banksy: The Palestinian Job!
My last few posts were really full of sadness, which is something that I couldn’t handle anymore, so in hopes to finally get some sleep tonight, I thought I would share some of my feelings on something has left a print in my life.
Banksy, a British Artist that has touched the world and the streets of Britain; is an artist infamous for his graffiti and paintings, mostly on his views as a political activist, and the best party is, no one know who Banksy is, he has managed to seal his identity for so many years that only close friends can give information about him but they haven’t unveiled much yet either.
The only thing known about Banksy is that he was born in 1974, and since he insists on keeping his identity anonymous, he does not sell photos of street graffiti directly himself, however art auctioneers have been known to attempt to sell his street art on location and leave the problem of its removal in the hands of the winning bidder.
Keeping his identity a closely guarded secret, the graffiti artist Banksy has made a name for himself with provocative images stencilled around the streets of London. However one of his most impressive works in my humble opinion is his “Palestinian Job”.
Banksy has managed to paint graffiti bits and pieces on a 425-mile-long West Bank barrier, separating Israel from the Palestinian territories, which is considered illegal by the United Nations, which I personally find brave, courageous and just so damn artistic and liberating. Banksy’s feelings about the barrier are made explicit in a statement which says the wall “essentially turns Palestine into the world’s largest open prison.”
Banksy also records on his website how an old Palestinian man said his painting made the wall look beautiful. Banksy thanked him, only to be told: ‘We don’t want it to be beautiful, we hate this wall. Go home.’
Much of the art he produced on the Wall visually subverts and draws attention to its nature as a barrier by incorporating images of escape — a girl being carried away by a bunch of balloons, a little boy painting a rope ladder.
Other pieces invoke a virtual reality that underlines the negation of humanity that the barrier represents — children in areas cut off from any access to the sea playing with sand buckets and spades on piles of rubble that look like sand, and corners of the wall peeled back to reveal imagined lush landscapes behind.
In an Interview with Banksy where has announced that he never plans on unveiling his identity, he commented on his work on the wall in Palestine by saying: “Every graffiti writer should go there. They’re building the biggest wall in the world. I painted on the Palestinian side, and a lot of them weren’t sure about what I was doing. They didn’t understand why I wasn’t just writing “down with Israel” in big letters and painting pictures of the Israeli prime minister hanging from a rope. And maybe they had a point. The guy that I stayed with got five days with the “dirty bag” for waving a Palestinian flag out a window. The dirty bag is when Israeli security services get a sack, wipe their shit on it, and put the bag over your head while your hands are tied behind your back. I spat out my falafel as he was explaining that to me, but he just goes, “That’s nothing. My cousin got it for two weeks without a break.” It’s difficult to come home and hear people complaining about reruns on TV after that. It’s very hard for the locals to paint illegally over there. We certainly weren’t doing it under the cloak of darkness; you’d get shot. We were out in the middle of the day, making it very clear we were tourists. Twice, we had serious trouble with the army, but one time the Palestinian border patrol pulled up in an armored truck. The Israeli government makes a big fuss about how they own the wall, despite building it right through the farmland of Palestinians who have been there for generations, so the Palestinian border police don’t give a shit if you paint it or not. They parked between the road and us, gave us water, and just watched. It’s probably the only time I’m ever going to paint whilst being covered by a cop from a roof-mounted submachine gun.”
No wonder, he is one of the very few artists I respect an honor.
– Sleepless in Amman
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