Banksy always gives us reasons to talk about him and his art, which makes him one of the most popular artists in history.
Last week, the art world lost its mind when eight alleged works by the famous and mysterious street artist Banksy were found all over Paris. The first news about this story appeared on the art magazine Artistik Rezo, whose president Nicolas Laugero has been creating content about the artist for a while now . According to him, they had news that Banksy was in the City of Lights, and they were just waiting to see what he would come up with. Later on, photos of these artworks were uploaded on Banksy’s official Instagram, confirming his authorship of the now famous artworks around the city. These new works are very much in line with what he usually does: denouncing and protesting the various issues that affect people in Europe and beyond. Below are the famous Parisian Banksy works everybody wants to see right now.
1. Porte de la Chapelle, migrant’s soup kitchen.
This was the first mural, discovered on June 20. As you know, when it comes to Banksy, everything is really thought through, and the date is no exception. June 20 is World Refugee Day, and this particular mural of a girl covering a black swastika was painted on a wall near one of the busiest migrant neighborhoods in Paris. Since its creation, the mural has been vandalized with blue paint, and many Banksy fans and art lovers have covered the other works in plastic to protect them.
2. Staircase, Montmartre
Another characteristic feature of Banksy’s art is his rodent protagonists, and this series in Paris is filled with them. As he explained once, rats are hated and hunted since time immemorial, and yet, they’re the only ones capable of “bringing entire civilizations to their knees.” Through the use of rats in his art, he makes a strong statement about resilience in a world that doesn’t accept you, pretty much what many immigrants have to endure every day.
3. LIBERTÉ, ÉGALITÉ, CABLE TV
Probably one of the most provocative murals in the series, this one is a recreation of the famous "Napoleon Crossing the Alps" painting by Jacques-Louis David. In Banksy's version, Napoleon is sitting on his horse with a long red cape covering him completely. The title he gave it on his Instagram account is equally evocative and deep. This mural appears in a neighborhood with a large immigrant population.
Going back to the rats, in this one, a mouse wearing Minnie Mouse ears is standing right above the year 1968, with the eight looking as if it had been blurred out. This year is actually very significant in France’s history, since it was the time when the student occupation protest took place. These protests soon became strikes in what’s been called one of the most violent revolts in the history of the city.
In this one, there are two rats who look as if they were a couple walking toward the Eiffel Tower. Though there isn’t more explanation to this particular one, one interpretation could be that they represent the contrast between immigrants today and those in the past, particularly the immigration wave that took place during the industrialization of the city.
6. Fifty years since the uprising in Paris in 1968. The birthplace of modern stencil art.
Going back to that particular moment in France’s history (which also encouraged students in other parts of the world to rise up), here we have what has been interpreted in social media as an autobiographical artwork. The rat is concealing its identity (as Banksy does) and doing its part in the fight for people's rights.
7. Untitled, Sorbonne University
Found in the premises of the Sorbonne University, the mural is kind of self-explanatory. It’s a man (master) offering a “treat” to a dog, while concealing a weapon that could be used to kill it. This is pretty much what many governments are doing and worse than that what many migration policies are based on.
8. Fire door, Bataclan
Finally, this mural is even more powerful than many of his most acclaimed works. It’s located on one of the exit doors of the Bataclan concert hall, where a terrorist attack in November 2015 took place. Many of the survivors escaped through it. Here, he shows what looks like a young girl wearing a veil looking down in sorrow. It has been interpreted as a message saying that not all Muslims are responsible for the horrors ISIS and other terrorist groups are perpetuating. Moreover, that many are also victims of these crimes.
Banksy is definitely a contemporary artist who has made history, not only for his work and the messages he gives through them, but also all the mystery surrounding his identity. These are the works he's confirmed in his social media so far, but there might be more for us to admire pretty soon.
Take a look at these:
Photos taken from @banksy