Fresh Off His Viral Shredding Stunt, Banksy Will Be Giving Away Free Merch at London’s World Travel Fair

The elusive street artist is back in the news, this time promoting his Palestinian Walled Off Hotel at a travel industry trade fair.

A general view shows the Walled-Off Hotel (L), Banksy's newly opened hotel, standing next to Israel's controversial separation wall, in the Israeli occupied West Bank town of Bethlehem. Photo: HAZEM BADER/AFP/Getty Images.

Last month, Banksy shocked and mesmerized the art world when one of his prints self-destructed just after being sold at Sotheby’s. For those that wondered what the anonymous street artist would do next, we now have an answer: On Friday, Banksy announced his participation in London’s World Travel Fair next week, a global trade event for the travel industry, where he’ll be promoting his Palestine-based Walled Off Hotel.

In typical Banksy fashion, the announcement came via Instagram, accompanied by a photograph of the “replica separation barrier” he created to drum up publicity for the hotel, which opened on the West Bank in Palestine back in 2017. Although Banksy isn’t expected to actually turn up at the fair, the Instagram caption read: “We’ll be at the Palestine stand giving away free stuff,” which is sure to pique the interest of graffiti-heads everywhere.

The announcement comes as something of a surprise, given that this is the first time the British artist has lent his brand to any sort of art fair or trade show. Of course, Banksy has made his career playing on the unexpected. For instance, when the Walled Off Hotel opened, it reportedly stunned local authorities, having been constructed in “complete secrecy” over more than a year.

In 2013, a few bargain hunters were shocked to discover that the Banksy-esque spray paintings they had purchased for around $60 at a pop-up stall in Central Park were, in fact, original prints. An elderly gentleman had opened up the flimsy stall, surrounded by scores of others hocking souvenirs to tourists, and over the course of the day, there were only six sales, netting about $420. A year later, two of the prints were featured at a London-based Bonhams auction, carrying estimates of £70,000 and £50,000 (or $90,700 and $64,700), respectively.


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