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.”
The piece was painted just a few miles away from the Tata steel mill in Port Talbot, southern Wales. Looking at the painting from one angle it depicts a child with a sled, trying to catch the snowflakes with the tongue and hopeful to use the sled if the snowfall continues. The piece was confirmed by Banksy’s Instagram on 19 December. According to several sources, it was painted some days before.
Local councillor, Nigel Thomas Hunt, said in a statement to The Guardian: “We’re buzzing down here. The placing of the work is very clever. You can look at the painting and see the furnaces in the background. We’re delighted. I’ve written to the council already and we need to secure this really quickly.”
The Guardian article continues: “This year, the World Health Organization said Port Talbot was the most polluted place in the UK. But in May, Neath Port Talbot council said the WHO got the figures wrong and had apologised.”
A new piece of street-art appeared today on Banksy’s Instagram and on the official website, http://www.banksy.co.uk. It’s a text-based stencil incorporating a free-hand dick. “Based on your browsing history the following graffiti has been recommended for you…”. The exact location is not confirmed.
It’s a somewhat surprising artistical turn, but, it’s not the first male genital in the Banksy catalog.
The artwork was discovered on 26 January on Scott Street Bridge in Hull, a town in eastern England. The stenciled piece depicts a boy, raising a makeshift sword with a pencil attached to the tip, carrying a shield and wearing a cap and a colander on his head.
On his Instagram account, Banksy changes the wording to “RAISE THE DRAWBRIDGE”. Banksy being for EU and Hull was the City with the highest Brexit leave is one take on the artwork. It could also refer to the “Siege of Hull” in 1642 when King Charles I was refused to enter Hull by Sir John Hotham and the Parliament.
Banksy’s take on Brexit comes at a contentious time for European politics: the UK is currently undergoing a general election that will dictate the relationship with or without the EU. On the other side of the Channel, only 80 km away, France is deciding on its European future. Confirmed by Banksy’s Instagram account on 7 May 2017.
Banksy Brexit mural in Dover. 7 May 2017
Detail of Banksy Brexit mural in Dover. 7 May 2017