The new mural is a bittersweet Christmas greeting featuring Ryan, a homeless person, being drawn away by two reindeers. The piece appeared in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter last Friday, the 6 December, and was confirmed on Banksy’s Instagram a few days later with a half minute long video.
According to an article published in The Guardian on 10 December:
“A commuter who happened to pass by on her way to work on Friday morning claims she saw a man setting up close to the wall. She said: “It was around 7 o’clock on Friday morning when I got off the bus and saw a man giving a few snacks to a homeless man who was sitting on the bench. I wouldn’t have thought it was Banksy, I just thought it was someone helping out the homeless.”
Martin Clarke, a jeweller at Vault 88, claims to have seen two workmen early on Friday morning working on the wall which is directly outside his shop. “I saw a small tent with a couple of lads in high-vis vests early in the morning on Friday. I thought they were from the council and were just doing a bit of upkeep. About half six I looked out the window and the tent had gone as had the lads. Then I saw it.
“I thought it was great. We weren’t sure what it was at first or who did it but we had a good idea.”
In Banksy’s own words:
“God bless Birmingham.
In the 20 minutes we filmed Ryan on this bench passers-by gave him a hot drink, two chocolate bars and a lighter – without him ever asking for anything.”