Did This British Tourist Accidentally Take a Photo of Banksy in Action?

Does the world's most famous street artist really wear a fedora? The guessing game continues.

Banksy Peace on Earth (2017). Photo: Banksy.com.

A British tourist claims to have photographed the elusive street artist Banksy making his latest mural in Bethlehem, Israel. The spray-painted work reads “Peace on Earth” and features an asterisk stylized as the north star with fine print below that reads “Terms and conditions apply.”

Tourist Jason Stellios says he took the photo just as the stealthy street artist was putting the finishing touches on a new work on a wooden door in a courtyard adjacent to the Milk Grotto, a Catholic chapel in the West Bank of the Palestinian territories that attracts scores of pilgrims and tourists. The photo shows a middle-aged man standing in front of the work on the door, clutching an aerosol can and stencil, and wearing a distinctive straw fedora hat, gray shorts, and a gray fleece-style sweater.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, Stellios said it didn’t occur to him that the person he photographed was Banksy until he noticed the same man at a site-specific performance called AlterNativity at Banksy’s WalledOff Hotel at the West Bank. “I was chatting with people after the play and they said that they wanted to go see the new Banksy piece which I didn’t know about and I went in a cab with them up to the church,” Stellios said. “I then realized I saw this being spray painted a few days earlier.”

A quick look at Banksy’s website, which the artist uses to authenticate his works, confirmed that the work on the door was in fact an original Banksy.

Despite his purported encounter with the anonymous street artist, Stellios admitted that he doesn’t even like Banksy. “I’m not really keen on street art but I’m quite excited to have seen him in action,” he said. “Banksy’s helping people here by what he’s doing but I’m not a fan or anything.”

There has been plenty of speculation about the identity of the world’s most famous street artist over the years, but to date, he remains unidentified.

Meanwhile, the BBC announced it will broadcast Banksy’s AlterNativity performance from outside the WalledOff Hotel, and it will be directed by Oscar-winning film director Danny Boyle.

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