Old Banksy Works Resurface in Syria and Detroit

Banksy, Balloon Girl (2002, left, and 2014, right).
Banksy, Balloon Girl (2002, left, and 2014, right).

Mysterious British street artist Banksy, no stranger to headlines of late, is the subject of two very different news stories this week.

The artist has revealed a new version of his iconic Balloon Girl to commemorate the third anniversary of the ongoing Syrian conflict. The stencil, redesigned so that the child now wears a headscarf, will be displayed on March 13 at #WithSyria vigils held around the world. It will be projected onto such landmarks as the Eiffel Tower and Nelson’s Column as red balloons are released.

A statement on Banksy’s website offers a reminder of the detention of the fifteen Syrian children “arrested and tortured for painting anti-authoritarian graffiti,” which triggered the protests that incited the current conflict.

The Banksy mural at the Packard Plant

The Banksy mural at the Packard Plant.
Photo: Courtesy Randy Wilcox/Detroit Funk.

In Detroit, 555 Gallery faced criticism for removing a Banksy mural from a derelict building, the Packard Plant, in May 2010. After a failed lawsuit from the property owner, the gallery was granted ownership of the work. But now, a new controversy has emerged as the cash-strapped nonprofit has announced its intention to sell the piece.

While the gallery contends that the proceeds will help them promote young artists and finance new educational programs, some, as reported by the Huffington Post, claim that 555 is attempting to profit from what was intended as a public work of art.


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