‘It’s Not Their Problem, It’s Mine’: Banksy Reveals a New Painting of the American Flag Burning and Calls on White People to Take Action

The street artist pays tribute to the Black Lives Matter movement in his latest work.

Banksy announced his support for the Black Lives Matter movement by sharing this new artwork on Instagram. Courtesy of the artist.
Banksy announced his support for the Black Lives Matter movement by sharing this new artwork on Instagram. Courtesy of the artist.

Banksy’s latest work, which he shared online over the weekend, is a tribute to Black Lives Matter. The new painting depicts the American flag catching fire from a memorial candle next to a framed portrait of a black silhouette.

“At first I thought I should just shut up and listen to black people about this issue,” the elusive street artist wrote on Instagram. “But why would I do that? It’s not their problem, it’s mine. People of color are being failed by the system. The white system. Like a broken pipe flooding the apartment of the people living downstairs… This is a white problem. And if white people don’t fix it, someone will have to come upstairs and kick the door in.”

Both the artwork and the accompanying message come in response to protests taking place across the US in recent weeks in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd, as well as other instances of police brutality against black Americans. Street artists around the world have created moving tributes to Floyd, while other artworks memorializing Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor have gone viral online.

Banksy, whose work often addresses issues of social justice, has continued making art despite the global lockdowns in recent months. In April, he demonstrated that he, too, could work from home, sharing a photograph of his bathroom, where stenciled rats ran amok and seemingly tipped over bottles of soap.

He also donated a new painting of a young boy playing with a superhero doll dressed as a nurse to England’s Southampton General Hospital. Just two days later, a would-be thief in a hazmat suit was caught trying to steal the artwork. The piece, titled gamechanger, will be auctioned to benefit the National Health Service in the fall.


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