“A group of celebrity activists are trying to destigmatize being Palestinian, telling the human stories of an oppressed nation in a new documentary. The documentary “Walled Off,” takes its title from a hotel owned by anonymous British street artist Banksy in the biblical city of Bethlehem. Located a few steps from Israel’s imposing separation barrier that runs through the occupied West Bank, it bills itself as the hotel with the “worst view in the world.”
Inside, the walls are decorated with Banksy’s artwork depicting satirical views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It also has a museum dedicated to informing visitors about the separation wall and providing historical context on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It is that use of art to tell the story of a people struggling for freedom that inspired the star-studded team to make the documentary, they tell CNN.
Film director and producer Vin Arfuso joined forces with model and musician Anwar Hadid, Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters, and Kweku Mandela, the grandson of former South African President Nelson Mandela, to tell the story of what it’s like living under Israeli occupation. Waters has been a years-long advocate for Palestinian rights but has stirred controversy at times, with some critics accusing him of antisemitism. He has rejected that, saying his antipathy is toward Israel’s government, not the Jewish people. The film cuts between scenes from the hotel and historical footage of the decades-long conflict, detailing events the filmmakers say have been misrepresented by the media.”
One of the most iconic pieces in the Walled Off Hotel collection, David engulfed by a cloud of teargas, has been replaced by a statue of Shakespeare with a Hamlet twist. Whether David has been sold or taken away for restoration is unclear. The Shakespeare statue has reportedly stood in the WOH offices for some time. The pictures of Shakespeare were published on 25 March on Facebook by Walled Off Hotel visitor Jesse Zuefle.
Above, the Shakespeare statue, photos by Jesse Zuefle. Below, David in a cloud of teargas, photo by R.A.
In a brilliant performance, an unknown poet in the style of John Cooper Clarke recites a poem on the theme “Gentrification is coming because there is a Banksy in Margate now”, accompanied by a distorted guitar. Apparently, the clip was filmed during an open mic session at a pub in Margate. The clip can be seen at https://www.instagram.com/p/Cp5WlIWP4e6/
The artwork appeared on the side of a derelict farmhouse in the seaside town Herne Bay, only 20 km from Margate, where he did Valentine’s day mascara a month ago. The demolition of the house, including the mural, can be interpreted in many ways.
Ukrainian Post Office issued a postage stamp on 20 February with a reproduction of a Banksy mural depicting a boy defeating Putin in judo to mark the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion. On 27 February, Banksy confirmed the postage stamp on his Instagram.
The Valentine’s day mascara mural appeared in Margate, 100 km east of London, on Tuesday morning, 14 February. The Guardian reported on the dismantling of the artwork the same day:
“A Banksy artwork that was dismantled by a council in Kent “on the grounds of safety” just hours after its unveiling has had its chest freezer returned. The mural, titled Valentine’s Day Mascara, appeared to highlight the issue of domestic violence. It incorporated a freezer, a broken garden chair, a blue crate and an empty beer bottle, which were all removed from the site on Tuesday.”
Why a domestic violence motive on Valentine’s day? It could have something to do with the big street art exhibition Beyond the Streets at Saatchi Gallery in London, which opened on 17 February with more than 50 of Banksy’s street art colleagues participating, among them Shepard Fairey and 3D. As we all know, advertising tycoon Charles Saatchi is the founder and owner of Saatchi Gallery, and Banksy’s views on the advertising industry are well known through his artwork and writings. In 2013, writer Nigella Lawson broke up with Charles Saatchi amidst well-publicized accusations of domestic violence.
“I’ve made 50 of these screenprints with all proceeds going to our friends in Ukraine. Visit banksy.legacyofwarfoundation.com”
It’s a signed and hand-finished print in an edition of 50. The price is GBP 5000 plus taxes – the market value is, of course, much higher. One can sign up here to participate in the lottery: https://banksy.legacyofwarfoundation.com. All proceeds go to Legacy of War Foundation, an ONG helping the Ukrainians with medical supplies and other peaceful equipment.
“In Ukraine I saw a Legacy of War team sweep in and provide medical attention, heaters, fresh water and a friendly face to some very desperate people in a bombed out building. They also lent me one of their ambulances to work from, which turned out to be extremely useful when an angry babushka found me painting on her building and called the Police. I feel the least I should do is raise enough money to replace the number plates on the ambulance I hotted up..” — Banksy
Fashion retailer GUESS was forced to shut their Regent Street outlet on 18 November, a few hours after Banksy posted the following message on Instagram: “They’ve helped themselves to my artwork without asking, how can it be wrong for you to do the same to their clothes?”
In November 2022, Guess announced their collaboration with Brandalised, a company that specializes in selling licenses for popular images to international retailers. This wretched use of Banksy’s art is possible thanks to an unfavourable ruling at the EUIPO – European Union Intellectual Property Office – in May 2021.
There are two types of unauthorized Banksy exhibitions; the ones with 100% fake reproductions and those with 100% authentic pieces. The exhibitions with authentic works are unauthorized by the artist, but well-curated displays of special edition screen-prints, canvases and other unique material, all with Certification of Authenticity issued by Pest Control together with high-quality ephemera.
One of the exhibitions with authentic pieces is “Art of Banksy”, last seen in Covent Garden in London and Washington DC. (The Art of Banksy was initially curated by former agent Steve Lazarides.) The other ones are “Banksy – the Art of Protest”, – previously labelled as “Genius or Vandal?” and “Building Castles in the Sky”, last seen in New York and curated by Andipa. They source their pieces from serious long-term collectors, but one can assume they are not very popular with the Banksy camp. Still, nevertheless, they are honest and well-executed exhibitions.
On the other side: there are several ongoing exhibitions around the world with 100% fake artwork, squeezing out the exhibits mentioned above. They have no insurance or cost of sourcing the art works, as they only display fakes. Typically these fake exhibits consist of bad reproductions of street art and shoddy copies of his most iconic canvases and screen prints. The organizers often promote the fake studio pieces as being authentic. To make it even more fake and confusing, one of these shady operators has copied the name of The Art of Banksy from the exhibit mentioned above.
The following photos are from the 100% fake but well-attended exhibit The Mystery of Banksy – A genius mind in Malmö, Sweden.
Photos from the 100% fake Banksy exhibition The Mystery of Banksy – A Genius Mind in Malmö, Sweden. Photos: R.A.