Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Guerrilla Art

Roughly one year ago I bought a book that was highly recommended "Banksy: Wall and Piece". Finally getting around to opening it, I was taken aback with pages and pages of urban art with clear political, cultural and ethical annotations.

Banksy is a political graffiti artist who speaks his mind believing that "a wall has always been the best place to publish your work". He erects works of art (and alters works of art) in public places including art galleries and museums- unlawfully, only to be removed by authorities- naturally. His motivation to create is led by the guts to stand up anonymously in a western democracy and call for things no-one else believes in - like peace and justice and freedom. His anonymity has in turn produced a celebrated guerrilla artist.

"The people who truly deface our neighbourhoods are the companies that scrawl giant slogans across buildings and buses trying to make us feel inadequate unless we buy their stuff. They expect to be able to shout their message in your face from every available surface but you're never allowed to answer back. Well, they started the fight and the wall is the weapon of choice to hit them back."

The back cover of the book has this one quote from the Metropolitian Police stating "There's no way you're going to get a quote from us to use on your book cover". This is fitting, as he was a regular problem for the London police. His works were erected, and taken down hours or days later after realisation sets in that the works of art are illegally doctored onto surfaces.

I recommend his artworks to anyone who gets some cynical enjoyment from these pictures, and most can be easily viewed at his website here.



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