Rivington Street, London. 31 May 2001

The first “exhibition” in London took place on Rivington Street on 31 May 2001. In Banksy’s own words:

“We came out of a pub one night arguing about how easy it would be to hold an exhibition in London without asking anyone permission. As we walked through a tunnel in Shoreditch someone said – You’re wasting your time, why would you want to paint pictures in a dump like this?”

2001 - SA - Rivington street - UK - London - Shoreditch - Whitewash tunnel - BYHABW p41
Banksy’s twelve stencils at Rivington Street
Rivington Street, flyer
2001 -Overview - Rivington street - BYHABW p41
Rivington Street – Overview

Chiapas. Mexico, 2001

Banksy joined the Easton Cowboys, a radical football team from Bristol. In 2001 they went to Chiapas in Mexico to play against a football team from EZLN – Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional. Banksy played as a goalkeeper. During the stay in Chiapas, the Banksy team completed a few stencils and at least two free-hands.

Severnshed, Bristol. February 2000

After moving to London in late 1999, Banksy returned to Bristol in February 2000 to open his first regular exhibition at the restaurant Severnshed, behind the docks. The show was a mixture of stencil and acrylic on canvas. All pieces were priced under £ 1,000. The “Self-portrait” of Banksy, with a chimp head, sold for £ 198,000 at Bonhams in 2007. There are two other remarkable pieces – “Simple intelligence testing” and “Sharks”.

Photos: Melfleance, Flickr

Early stencils in Bristol, 1995-2000

According to Steve Wright’s and Richard Jones’s excellent book “Home Sweet Home”, Banksy’s first stencil was an insect in a spotlight on a wall in Windmill Hill in South Bristol. The exact year is unclear, but 1996 is a good approximation.

1996 - SA - UK - Bristol - Windmill Hill - First stencil - ant - HSH p62

Banksy’s early stencil work in Bristol:

Early Bristol freehand. 1995 – 1998

The walls of Easton in Bristol were the canvases for Banksy’s early freehand work. Inkie and other prominent figures from Bristol street-art scene collaborated regularly.