The new mural is a bittersweet Christmas greeting featuring Ryan, a homeless person, being drawn away by two reindeer. 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 short video. 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.”
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.”
The anti-Brexit mural was originally painted in May 2017. On 25 August 2019, a massive scaffolding was raised over the mural. On 10 September, the scaffolding was taken down, and the piece of art was gone. It is unclear whether the painting had been removed from the wall or whitewashed. A few days later, Banksy published his plans for the mural for the day of Brexit:
Screenshot from Banksy’s Instagram. The lone craftsman and the flag crumpled on the ground
In his own words:
“Oh. I had planned that on the day of Brexit I was going to change the piece in Dover to this.. But seems they’ve painted over it. Nevermind. I guess a big white flag says it just as well.”
The piece was painted just a few miles from the Tata steel mill in Port Talbot, southern Wales. Looking at the painting from one angle, it depicts a child with a sledge, trying to catch the snowflakes with the tongue and hopeful to use the sledge 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 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.”
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 catalogue.
Banksy’s stay in Paris has been a productive one. On 28 June, Banksy’s Instagram confirmed eight new stencils.
As reported by Street Art News (www.streetartnews.net), the following two pieces did appear in Paris at the same time and in the same area, but they haven’t been confirmed yet. Judging by style, execution and political content, they ought to be authentic.
The seal was painted at the same abandoned gas station in Midwood, Brooklyn, as the Trump “gentrification” piece. According to locals, both pieces were painted around 10 March. The seal uses the remaining part of the Mobil gas station logo as his ball.
Banksy continues his New York session in 2018 with another large mural in Brooklyn – Coney Island Avenue and Avenue I. The piece depicts a typical real-estate developer equipped with a hard hat and a graph instead of a whip in his hand. A reference to Mr Trump’s beginnings as heir to the vast real estate empire founded by his father, Fred Trump?