Banksy-style graffiti appeared in numerous cities across Ukraine before the artist confirmed one of the works to be his in an Instagram post earlier this week. Now the artist has posted a video online showing seven new pieces of artwork in the country, confirming they are all his, alongside a message of solidarity to the people of Ukraine.
In the video, we can see a man dressed in a grey hoodie cutting stencils from cardboard and using spray paint to create the new work, the first of which depicts a man in a freestanding bathtub scrubbing his back. The artwork, in the village of Horenka, has been sprayed directly on what looks like the bathroom wall of a bombed-out home, with wallpaper hanging in shreds all around it. The next, in the city of Hostomel, utilizes a discarded chair next to a yellow wall where Banksy has spray painted a woman wearing a dressing gown, hair rollers, and a gas mask so she appears to be standing on the chair, in her hands she’s holding a fire distinguisher.
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The video pans out so we are able to see the true destruction of entire buildings, with burnt-out windows and bombed-out rooms, the sad sight really brings home the devastating reality of the ongoing war.
Traditional Ukrainian music plays alongside the video as Banksy moves on to the next mural in Irpin - a black, grey, and white creation of a ballerina in a neck brace pirouetting and holding a flowing ribbon while balanced directly on a bombed-out hole. Continuing the theme, the fourth piece shows a female gymnast doing a handstand on top of a pile of rubble that once was a residential building in Borodyanka.
Always one to use his surroundings within his clever depictions, Banksy uses a metal tank trap in Kyiv to inspire his fifth piece turning it into a seesaw by stenciling two small children on either side. The trap has since been removed but the two children remain, one now hovering in mid-air.
Banksy has a history of turning sweet childhood games into sinister artworks in order to make a political statement. Pieces that echo this theme can also be seen in Bethlehem, Palestine, a place where the artist has a strong connection, and where many of his pieces remain to this day.
The sixth new mural uses the image of an existing graffiti penis which the artist has stenciled around to create an army tank with soldiers. The penis cleverly becomes a missile, and we see Banksy’s hand finishing off the piece with a ‘Z’ emblem, presumably for Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
While the last shows what many deem to be a likeness of Putin being flipped upside down by a small child during a judo match.
Towards the end of the video, a local woman and her small child are shown standing near a burnt out car. The woman shares her story as they stand in front of a completely destroyed kindergarten, “we already cried so much, we don’t have any tears left” she says sadly.
Fans of the artist as well as Ukrainian followers were quick to comment on the post praising the elusive artist for highlighting the true destruction and chaos being caused by the ongoing war, one person responded, “Oh… Banksy, thank you! What a wonderful song, what a wonderful pictures!” while another praised artists for highlighting political issues writing, “Artists have always been the biggest activists. Their work speaks louder than words.”
Banksy has never revealed his identity despite being one of the most famous artists alive today. The Bristolian creative is known for his political statements as well as satire with his most expensive artwork selling for an impressive £16million ($19million).
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Lydia is a travel writer and editor, based mostly in London. Her work has been published in print and online for the likes of Harper's Bazaar UK, ELLE UK, Marie Claire US, Condé Nast Traveller Middle East, Town&Country, BBC Good Food, Oh magazine, MailOnline, and woman&home.
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