Banksy’s newest art in support of the Black Lives Matter movement

4 mins read

The tragic death of George Floyd caused by the Minneapolis police on May 25,  initiated a wave of Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests around the globe.

While some people took to the streets to actively oppose the ongoing racism, others turned to social media and used the #BLM hashtag to express their disgust. 

In the UK, the England‑based anonymous street artist Banksy decided to  express his stance on these current events.

As a response to Floyd’s violent death, Banksy uploaded an art piece on his social media.

The artwork depicts a frame with a black shadow figure, white lilies and an American flag, which is being set on fire by a candle. 

Although Banksy does not explicitly explain the meaning behind his painting, he writes his opinion on the BLM movement alongside it: “At first I thought I should just shut up and listen to black people about this issue. But why would I do that? It’s not their problem. It’s mine… This is a white problem.”

As of now, his post has over two and half million likes on Instagram, and celebrities such as Mark Ruffalo and Lebanese artist Eli Rezkallah are showing their support of Banksy’s statement. 

“Yep. It’s our problem. We are the ones who hold the privilege and power. Time to have the difficult conversation,” Rufallo comments on the post. 

Fast forward three days and Banksy uploads yet another artwork, this time inspired by the events which have taken place in Bristol.

On June 7, a group of BLM protesters in Bristol tore down a statue of Edward Colston from his pedestal and threw him into Bristol Harbour.

Colston, a native of the city, was a 17th century slave trader, who was  known to make fortune by kidnapping African men, women and children and selling them into slavery. 

This act, which is seen as a victory for the BLM movement, started a heated discussion about where Colston’s statue should end up. 

Banksy (being Banksy) came up with his own “compromise” to this problem, which he proposed with his newest sketch on social media. 

Banksy writes: “What should we do with the empty plinth in the middle of Bristol?

“Here’s an idea that caters for both those who miss the Colston statue and those who don’t.We drag him out the water, put him back on the plinth, tie cable round his neck and commission some life size bronze statues of protestors in the act of pulling him down.” 

This would, according to Banksy, make “everyone happy. A famous day commemorated.”

Banksy is known to use his artwork in a satirical way, to highlight the issues which our society faces nowadays.

In the end, that’s the whole purpose of art – make a statement, start a discussion among the nation and perhaps even serve as a “silent” revolution against the powerful. 

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Film, Media and Journalism student at the University of Stirling. Sports editor @ Brig Newspaper. Bylines in Edinburgh Evening Times and the SPA National Magazine.

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