Banksy Heads to Gaza to Support the Palestinian Cause
"If you like dancing you go on holiday to Ibiza, if you like walls you go to Palestine."
The world’s best-known mystery street artist Banksy released a two-minute video highlighting the plight of Gazans on his website on Wednesday. Allegedly shot by the Brit himself, the video, which mocks a tourism ad calling on viewers to “Make this the year YOU discover a new destination,” also spotlights several new works that emphasize the suffering and harsh day-to-day reality in the Gaza strip.
The “tourism” video opens with a man, presumably Banksy, traveling via a “network of illegal tunnels” to enter Gaza. The clip also cites statistics on Operation Protective Edge, a military operation launched by Israel in 2014. Also featured is footage of drone strikes and children playing in rubble, as well as scenes showing the notoriously elusive street artist stencilling several works onto walls. Banksy’s publicist, Jo Brooks, has confirmed that the video, as well as the new graffiti works unveiled in Gaza, are all authentic.
Banksy’s latest pieces include images of children swinging from an Israeli surveillance tower, an image of the Greek mythical figure Niobe mourning her children, and a kitten playing with scrap metal as if with a ball of wool.
“A local man came up and said ‘Please—what does this mean?’ I explained I wanted to highlight the destruction in Gaza by posting photos on my website—but on the internet people only look at pictures of kittens,” Banksy writes.
The image of the Niobe graffiti was published on his Instagram account (@banksy.co.uk), while the video and further photographs were released later in the day. Brooks confirmed that the new social media account is indeed real.
This isn’t the first time the artist has done pieces that emphasized the struggle of Palestinians. In 2005, he stenciled work on the controversial Israeli West Bank separation wall. At the time, Banksy told the Independent: “If you like dancing you go on holiday to Ibiza, if you like walls you go to Palestine.” He then relativized his statement’s irreverence saying, “The segregation wall is a disgrace. On the Israeli side it’s all manicured lawns and SUVs, on the other side it’s just dust and men looking for work. The possibility I find exciting is you could turn the world’s most invasive and degrading structure into the world’s longest gallery of free speech and bad art. And I like to think I can help with that bit.”
The video ends by focusing on a text work sprayed in red letters: “If we wash our hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless we side with the powerful—we don’t remain neutral.”
Watch the full video here:
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