West Banksy style: Street art spruces up the Strip

Published March 3rd, 2015 - 10:39 GMT

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Eminently anonymous British street artist Banksy recently descended on Gaza, tagging some of its few unbroken surfaces with his iconic images. This time, he also created a mock video documentary showing the devastation of his latest urban canvas. It shows the squalid conditions in Gaza six months after the end of the war between Hamas and Israel. You can see the full mockumentary on the artist’s website.

Over 2,100 Palestinians were killed during the fighting, mostly civilians and many of them children, while 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians were killed. Continue reading below »

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Banksy’s cute kitty plays with a ball of tangled steel (Gazan “yarn”), a jarring contrast to the destruction around him. Says the artist on his website, 'A local man came up and said 'what does this mean?' I explained I wanted to highlight the Gaza destruction by posting photos, but on the internet people only look at pictures of kittens.'
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Image 1 of 10:  1 / 10Banksy’s cute kitty plays with a ball of tangled steel (Gazan “yarn”), a jarring contrast to the destruction around him. Says the artist on his website, "A local man came up and said 'what does this mean?' I explained I wanted to highlight the Gaza destruction by posting photos, but on the internet people only look at pictures of kittens."

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A mural on a wall in Beit Hanoun shows children swinging on a classic Western amusement ride, here done up Palestine style, with an Israeli Defence Forces guard tower planted in its center.
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Image 2 of 10:  2 / 10A mural on a wall in Beit Hanoun shows children swinging on a classic Western amusement ride, here done up Palestine style, with an Israeli Defence Forces guard tower planted in its center.

Enlarge
On his website, Banksy observes, “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.'
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Image 3 of 10:  3 / 10On his website, Banksy observes, “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."

Enlarge
“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’s art is simultaneously whimsical and politically charged. His text is becoming more pointed.
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Image 4 of 10:  4 / 10“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’s art is simultaneously whimsical and politically charged. His text is becoming more pointed.

Enlarge
Did you know that Banksy wrote books? His first was a collection of stencils, graffiti, quotes and a beginners guide to painting with stencils. About his “cut here” painting on the Israeli West Bank barrier wall, he wrote, “A wall is a very big weapon. It’s one of the nastiest things you can hit someone with.”
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Image 5 of 10:  5 / 10Did you know that Banksy wrote books? His first was a collection of stencils, graffiti, quotes and a beginners guide to painting with stencils. About his “cut here” painting on the Israeli West Bank barrier wall, he wrote, “A wall is a very big weapon. It’s one of the nastiest things you can hit someone with.”

Enlarge
“The greatest crimes in the world are not committed by people breaking the rules but by people following the rules. It’s people who follow orders that drop bombs and massacre villages.” Another classic quote from the street artist.
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Image 6 of 10:  6 / 10“The greatest crimes in the world are not committed by people breaking the rules but by people following the rules. It’s people who follow orders that drop bombs and massacre villages.” Another classic quote from the street artist.

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Street art from an earlier visit to Bethlehem. Says Banksy, “I don't want to take sides. But when you see entire suburban neighborhoods reduced to rubble with no hope of a future - what you're really looking at is a vast outdoor recruitment center for terrorists. And we should probably address this for all our sakes.”
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Image 7 of 10:  7 / 10Street art from an earlier visit to Bethlehem. Says Banksy, “I don't want to take sides. But when you see entire suburban neighborhoods reduced to rubble with no hope of a future - what you're really looking at is a vast outdoor recruitment center for terrorists. And we should probably address this for all our sakes.”

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There’s criticism over the accuracy of some statements made in the video. One says 'no cement has been allowed into Gaza since the bombing', although Israel currently allows limited amounts of cement to be imported. Another says that the area can only be accessed by illegal tunnels, although the Erez Crossing is currently open to Arab residents.
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Image 8 of 10:  8 / 10There’s criticism over the accuracy of some statements made in the video. One says "no cement has been allowed into Gaza since the bombing", although Israel currently allows limited amounts of cement to be imported. Another says that the area can only be accessed by illegal tunnels, although the Erez Crossing is currently open to Arab residents.

Enlarge
This politically-charged image made the rounds two years ago featuring what appears to be the New Testament's Joseph and Mary blocked from reaching Bethlehem (the Palestinian city purported to be the site of Jesus' birth) by the Israeli West Bank barrier. It’s attributed to the artist, and known as “Banksy’s Christmas card”.
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Image 9 of 10:  9 / 10This politically-charged image made the rounds two years ago featuring what appears to be the New Testament's Joseph and Mary blocked from reaching Bethlehem (the Palestinian city purported to be the site of Jesus' birth) by the Israeli West Bank barrier. It’s attributed to the artist, and known as “Banksy’s Christmas card”.

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Visitors to his website are reminded that Israel’s 425-mile-long West Bank barrier, which separates Israel from Palestine is considered illegal by the United Nations. Banksy says the wall is 'the ultimate activity holiday destination for graffiti writers.” Up, up and away!
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Image 10 of 10:  10 / 10Visitors to his website are reminded that Israel’s 425-mile-long West Bank barrier, which separates Israel from Palestine is considered illegal by the United Nations. Banksy says the wall is "the ultimate activity holiday destination for graffiti writers.” Up, up and away!

Enlarge

1

Banksy’s cute kitty plays with a ball of tangled steel (Gazan “yarn”), a jarring contrast to the destruction around him. Says the artist on his website, 'A local man came up and said 'what does this mean?' I explained I wanted to highlight the Gaza destruction by posting photos, but on the internet people only look at pictures of kittens.'

Image 1 of 10Banksy’s cute kitty plays with a ball of tangled steel (Gazan “yarn”), a jarring contrast to the destruction around him. Says the artist on his website, "A local man came up and said 'what does this mean?' I explained I wanted to highlight the Gaza destruction by posting photos, but on the internet people only look at pictures of kittens."

2

A mural on a wall in Beit Hanoun shows children swinging on a classic Western amusement ride, here done up Palestine style, with an Israeli Defence Forces guard tower planted in its center.

Image 2 of 10A mural on a wall in Beit Hanoun shows children swinging on a classic Western amusement ride, here done up Palestine style, with an Israeli Defence Forces guard tower planted in its center.

3

On his website, Banksy observes, “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.'

Image 3 of 10On his website, Banksy observes, “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."

4

“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’s art is simultaneously whimsical and politically charged. His text is becoming more pointed.

Image 4 of 10“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’s art is simultaneously whimsical and politically charged. His text is becoming more pointed.

5

Did you know that Banksy wrote books? His first was a collection of stencils, graffiti, quotes and a beginners guide to painting with stencils. About his “cut here” painting on the Israeli West Bank barrier wall, he wrote, “A wall is a very big weapon. It’s one of the nastiest things you can hit someone with.”

Image 5 of 10Did you know that Banksy wrote books? His first was a collection of stencils, graffiti, quotes and a beginners guide to painting with stencils. About his “cut here” painting on the Israeli West Bank barrier wall, he wrote, “A wall is a very big weapon. It’s one of the nastiest things you can hit someone with.”

6

“The greatest crimes in the world are not committed by people breaking the rules but by people following the rules. It’s people who follow orders that drop bombs and massacre villages.” Another classic quote from the street artist.

Image 6 of 10“The greatest crimes in the world are not committed by people breaking the rules but by people following the rules. It’s people who follow orders that drop bombs and massacre villages.” Another classic quote from the street artist.

7

Street art from an earlier visit to Bethlehem. Says Banksy, “I don't want to take sides. But when you see entire suburban neighborhoods reduced to rubble with no hope of a future - what you're really looking at is a vast outdoor recruitment center for terrorists. And we should probably address this for all our sakes.”

Image 7 of 10Street art from an earlier visit to Bethlehem. Says Banksy, “I don't want to take sides. But when you see entire suburban neighborhoods reduced to rubble with no hope of a future - what you're really looking at is a vast outdoor recruitment center for terrorists. And we should probably address this for all our sakes.”

8

There’s criticism over the accuracy of some statements made in the video. One says 'no cement has been allowed into Gaza since the bombing', although Israel currently allows limited amounts of cement to be imported. Another says that the area can only be accessed by illegal tunnels, although the Erez Crossing is currently open to Arab residents.

Image 8 of 10There’s criticism over the accuracy of some statements made in the video. One says "no cement has been allowed into Gaza since the bombing", although Israel currently allows limited amounts of cement to be imported. Another says that the area can only be accessed by illegal tunnels, although the Erez Crossing is currently open to Arab residents.

9

This politically-charged image made the rounds two years ago featuring what appears to be the New Testament's Joseph and Mary blocked from reaching Bethlehem (the Palestinian city purported to be the site of Jesus' birth) by the Israeli West Bank barrier. It’s attributed to the artist, and known as “Banksy’s Christmas card”.

Image 9 of 10This politically-charged image made the rounds two years ago featuring what appears to be the New Testament's Joseph and Mary blocked from reaching Bethlehem (the Palestinian city purported to be the site of Jesus' birth) by the Israeli West Bank barrier. It’s attributed to the artist, and known as “Banksy’s Christmas card”.

10

Visitors to his website are reminded that Israel’s 425-mile-long West Bank barrier, which separates Israel from Palestine is considered illegal by the United Nations. Banksy says the wall is 'the ultimate activity holiday destination for graffiti writers.” Up, up and away!

Image 10 of 10Visitors to his website are reminded that Israel’s 425-mile-long West Bank barrier, which separates Israel from Palestine is considered illegal by the United Nations. Banksy says the wall is "the ultimate activity holiday destination for graffiti writers.” Up, up and away!

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The silent movie is captioned in English, reading:

"Make this the year you discover a new destination. Welcome to Gaza. Well away from the tourist track (access is via a network of illegal tunnels). The locals love it so much they never leave (because they’re not allowed to). Nestled in an exclusive setting (surrounded by walls on three sides and a line of gunboats on the other). Watched over by friendly neighbors (in 2014, Operation Protective Edge destroyed 18,000 homes). Development opportunities everywhere (no cement has been allowed into Gaza since the bombing). Plenty of scope for refurbishment."

The world’s favorite street artist may be moving towards humanitarian poetry. Banksy is keeping it real.

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