Join 3,553 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Banksy and barrier
August 5, 2005 5:27 AM   Subscribe

Banksy and the barrier
posted by srboisvert (44 comments total)

 
Banksy, as usual, is amazing. Even if you dislike the message, the medium is incredible. I can't imagine how long that beach scene took.
posted by phrontist at 5:35 AM on August 5, 2005


(this is good)

There's this weird mock-propaganda vibe I get from these works, where the walls are turned into one-way portals looking into a better world, a kind of mocking, ironic statement how Palestinians would be better off if they were born Israelis. Almost as if the decorated wall simultaneously denigrated their daily existence even more than when it just was a simple prison wall.
posted by Rothko at 5:44 AM on August 5, 2005


Banksy is either a brave or a stupid man. The part where the soldier says "Safeties off"? Forget about it. I also liked this quote:
"the ultimate activity holiday destination for graffiti writers". heh. Here's a direct link to his website.
posted by OmieWise at 5:47 AM on August 5, 2005


wow. confusing. bansky's work is seriously beautiful, but i can't wrap my head around this. some of them remind me of grating municipal beautification murals, and some are really simple-minded. (the palm trees really remind of of barton fink for some reason.)
posted by ~ at 6:08 AM on August 5, 2005


There's this weird mock-propaganda vibe I get from these works...

Now I remember film what I was thinking about...
posted by Rothko at 6:15 AM on August 5, 2005


[this is amazing]
posted by mr.marx at 6:18 AM on August 5, 2005


How original!
posted by kika at 6:28 AM on August 5, 2005


There's a tension in this graffiti, between the use of the Apartheid Wall as a defiant piece of art and the exploitation of the tragedy.

The art mirrors that exact tension back at the viewer by showing the paradise scenes juxtaposed with cartoons..Beautiful.
posted by By The Grace of God at 6:33 AM on August 5, 2005


Rothko, I was under the impression that this was done on the Israeli side of the wall, but I could be wrong - interesting observation.
posted by odinsdream at 6:51 AM on August 5, 2005


<tilde>, Those palm trees are a recreation of a very common photograph. I have them on my shower curtain.
posted by ijoshua at 7:11 AM on August 5, 2005


Banksy also records on his website how an old Palestinian man said his painting made the wall look beautiful. Banksy thanked him, only to be told: 'We don't want it to be beautiful, we hate this wall. Go home.'

well there you go, then.
posted by jimmy at 7:18 AM on August 5, 2005


bythegraceofgod, yeah, i think i get that. it's also brilliantly reframing the medium it's written on.

i think it's good art but it's imposing bansky's (glib? sarcastic?) meaning on the wall, and this particular wall is already pretty pregnant with meaning.
posted by ~ at 7:18 AM on August 5, 2005


dang. i am new and slow. jimmy said it better.
and, ljosh, no kiddin.
posted by ~ at 7:21 AM on August 5, 2005


Banksy:
"The Israeli government is building a wall surrounding the occupied Palestinian territories. It stands three times the height of the Berlin Wall and will eventually run for over 700km - the distance from London to Zurich. The wall is illegal under international law and essentially turns Palestine into the world's largest open prison."

My impression is that the paintings with the picturesque windows symbolize what type of world would exist without the wall in place. A glimpse of possibility.

Of course, I'm an optimist. But given Banksy's statement, I doubt he was trying to "denigrate" the Palestinians daily lives. The mere fact that he put the quote from the old Palestinian man on his own website is telling.
posted by purephase at 7:39 AM on August 5, 2005


Wow.
posted by delmoi at 7:49 AM on August 5, 2005


Nice Rothko, I guessed the movie as I clicked.
posted by joecacti at 7:52 AM on August 5, 2005


[this is good]

Thank you.
posted by loquacious at 7:57 AM on August 5, 2005


But given Banksy's statement, I doubt he was trying to "denigrate" the Palestinians daily lives.

I don't think it is intentional, but like Brazil I have to wonder what role Banksy is playing on the Israeli's behalf — even if unintentional. Almost as if he legitimizes the wall's existence a little bit by putting his art on it. The artwork — the artist's ego — becomes the focus, rather than the illegitimacy of the wall on which it is hung. Again, I don't think these effects are intentional, but I think they result, nonetheless, from the process and the artist involved.
posted by Rothko at 7:58 AM on August 5, 2005


Previous Banksy-related thread from last March, filled with interesting links and discussion about him and his work.
posted by mediareport at 7:59 AM on August 5, 2005


Despite the fact that the related article says August 5, I don't think these are "new" or "recent" works. I seem to recall seeing them quite a while back. Then again, perhaps he made a another trip.
posted by shoepal at 8:05 AM on August 5, 2005


I despise Banksy.
posted by fire&wings at 8:13 AM on August 5, 2005


What Rothko said.
posted by dead_ at 8:20 AM on August 5, 2005


I quite like the guy. What is there to despise?
posted by twistedonion at 8:21 AM on August 5, 2005


shoepal: it appears to be new stuff
posted by mr.marx at 8:52 AM on August 5, 2005


fire&wings writes "I despise Banksy."

And you despise him why? Because other people appreciate him, or because you don't?

Despise is such a nasty word - it's like "hate" - if you aren't excited by something, why waste energy despising it? Just ignore it, get on with your life and let those who don't despise it be...

Or were you just trying to be "cool"?
posted by benzo8 at 8:55 AM on August 5, 2005


it doesn't need to be new , just newer

banksy is a good artist .
banksy is well funded .
anyone could have done this ,
but banksy did it first .
and that's what counts .
posted by mishaco at 9:03 AM on August 5, 2005


Mr Sharon,Tear down this wall!
posted by hortense at 9:15 AM on August 5, 2005


mishaco writes "anyone could have done this"

Anyone? I mean, I guess it would be fun if you would pay me a trip somewhere so I could paint some pictures on some walls. I would like to go to Tahiti (I think they must have at least some fences there). I can barely draw a straight line with a ruler, but then again if ANYONE can do it you won't really mind my lack of artistic talent.
posted by nkyad at 9:18 AM on August 5, 2005


Great post srboisvert. I suppose it is lost on the Palestinians (as most things seem to be) that the graffiti on the Berlin wall was (appropriately) on the Western side....
posted by three blind mice at 9:22 AM on August 5, 2005


The artwork — the artist's ego — becomes the focus, rather than the illegitimacy of the wall on which it is hung.

Actually, I think that the art likely draws more attention to the wall, and therefore keeps the barrier from fading, mundanely, into the background.

If people look at it more frequently, perhaps they will continuously be reminded of its cruelty.

Additionally, having the art pulicized in this way brings continued international attention to the wall and hopefully into discussion, which is important.
posted by atlatl at 9:23 AM on August 5, 2005


I'd be very curious to hear more about the Arab reaction, if there is any positive reaction at all.

I agree with atlatl-- The West, in particular the United States, has done a pretty good job of learning to look past the barrier, so drawing any attention to it is probably a good thing for those of us who live out of its shadow.

But how does humour translate to the people on either side of the wall? Is it meant for them at all?

My problem with bansky's project is that it seems like it was created for British taste, and British sensibilities. There's nothing wrong with that (I like Britain, particularly British humour), if there is something meaningful for the people who have to look at that sick barrier, or for those traumatized by the sick events that led to its construction?

A good work for me would address the suffering of both parties.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 10:29 AM on August 5, 2005


Banksy has a spokeswoman?
posted by Jairus at 11:15 AM on August 5, 2005


Banksy like most famous street artists is a disaffected trust fund kid. (ie Borf and others)
posted by TetrisKid at 11:58 AM on August 5, 2005


Well, if we have to have a plague of disaffected trust fund kids, I'd rather they be creative like Banksy, than sitting around in cafes writing their blog all day.
posted by fungible at 12:04 PM on August 5, 2005


On Banksy's website, readers are reminded that Israel's 425-mile-long West Bank barrier, separating Israel from the Palestinian territories, is considered illegal by the United Nations.
So are we going to invade them too?
posted by Smedleyman at 12:56 PM on August 5, 2005


Thanks, mr.marx. I swear I saw a couple of these months ago. Particularly the Balloon girl and Scissor cut-out one. No big deal. Also, didn't meant to imply that the freshness was important. Thanks for the link, srboisvert.
posted by shoepal at 1:32 PM on August 5, 2005


Great link, thanks.

I think it's always going to be probematic for someone doing this as a lot is going to be read into the artwork itself. I think banksy's main point about the barrier is the same as it is with any wall anywhere else - that these public spaces should be reclaimed as public and used for public expression. I'd be interested to see if there's any other artwork on the wall by Palestinians apart from just slogans.
posted by dodgygeezer at 2:14 PM on August 5, 2005


> disaffected trust fund kid

Unless you've got a citation, I call bullshit.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 5:46 PM on August 5, 2005


just who the fuck is banksy?
posted by puke & cry at 8:23 PM on August 5, 2005 [1 favorite]


I like the balloon one. The caption says that Banksy can be provocative without being polemical. I suppose this means that this image can provoke you without drawing you into a debate.

Perhaps...

The balloon girl, if she continues to rise above the barrier, will be shot down. This represents literally, the Israeli-Palestinian shootings of children. It also implies that any rising hope to transcend this wall is likely to be shot down.

Not everybody may draw that meaning explicitly. If you don't, at the very least, looking at it makes you shiver a little and feel provoked in some way, although it may be hard to figure out why at first.
posted by philosophistry at 12:03 AM on August 6, 2005


Art is in the eye of the beholder, isn't it? So many here automatically throw around terms like "Apartheid Wall" or "sick barrier", and no doubt that colors their reaction to Banksy's work.

What of the people who see the wall and note that it's saved hundreds of lives, both Palestinian and Israeli? That not one suicide bomber, truck bomber, nail bomber has gotten through in any place the wall has been constructed? That the construction may have been the only thing that truly could (and so far, has) dimmed the violence of the latest Intifada, and thus lead--ironically--to a better chance for disenagegment and normality, for both sides? And maybe peace?

To them--us--Banksy's paintings have a somewhat different gut-level effect.
posted by Asparagirl at 12:33 AM on August 6, 2005


Whilst the wall exists in it's current location their can be no negotiation in good faith.

So the wall is also a substantial hurdle to long term peace.
posted by asok at 4:42 AM on August 6, 2005


So many here automatically throw around terms like "Apartheid Wall" or "sick barrier"

Asparagirl, I appreciate the sentiment, but the wall has made life on the Palatinian side completely untenable. I would even question assertions that it has saved a single Jewish life.

Fences might make good neighbours, but giagantic concrete barriers that deny citizens access to jobs and hospitals really don't. This wall is not a matter of a little extra traffic, or an uncomfortable commute: it cuts apart Palestinian communities, denies Palestinians access not only to work, but to hospitals and schools. It even makes it difficult for the Palestinian authority to police the areas.

I consider myself sympathetic to both sides, but your assertion is laughably uncritical.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 4:32 PM on August 6, 2005


So many here automatically throw around terms like "Apartheid Wall" or "sick barrier"

Asparagirl, I appreciate the sentiment, but the wall has made life on the Palatinian side completely untenable. I would even question assertions that it has saved a single Jewish life.

Fences might make good neighbours, but giagantic concrete barriers that deny citizens access to jobs and hospitals really don't. This wall is not a matter of a little extra traffic, or an uncomfortable commute: it cuts apart Palestinian communities, denies Palestinians access not only to work, but to hospitals and schools. It even makes it difficult for the Palestinian authority to police the areas.

I consider myself sympathetic to both sides, but your assertion is laughably uncritical.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 4:32 PM on August 6, 2005


« Older Electrical lighting conspiracy theories can be par...  |  The Union Makes Us Strong.... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments