Banksy In New Orleans
Banksy is probably the most famous yet the most mysterious graffiti artist this world has seen. Some consider him a prankster whereas others, an artistic genius. One thing that everyone agrees on is that his popularity cannot be denied. His work includes images and slogans which are usually satirical in nature. His subjects include both animals and human beings and theme of his work varies from politics, to ethics, to culture. His work has been sold for more than half a million apiece and some of his fans include Hollywood celebrities.
He is considered by many as the world’s foremost art terrorist. Recently this notorious graffiti artist had set his artistic sights on New Orleans, Louisiana, US. It was on the 28th of august, 2008, a day to the third anniversary of hurricane Katrina. The hurricane Katrina which struck this major city in 2005 caused a lot of damage and devastation. On its third anniversary, the city was painted by Banksy. The theme of his work was politics. He has fashioned a number of murals all around the city.
These murals show a mixture of scenes. Most of the pictures relate directly to the hurricane Katrina and its disastrous after effects. One of it showed former President Abraham Lincoln portraying him as a homeless man pushing a basket. Another picture showed an old man sitting on a rocking chair, with an American flag below the words “No Loitering”. Another image showed a little boy writing “I will not copy things I see on the Simpsons” on the board as imposition.
In another one, a little girl was holding an umbrella and putting out her hand as if to feel the rains. Another was that of a marching band wearing gas masks. Yet another picture showed a little boy like he was flying a kite except that the thread was attached to a refrigerator. In one way it looked like he was pulling at a refrigerator in air and in another way, like he was flying it. There was also this picture of a boy on a swing made of a life preserver.
Some people say that his work in New Orleans was a reply to Fred Radtke, the infamous anti graffiti crusader. He was a government clean up guy. Also called the ‘grey ghost’ he is known to indiscriminately cover up any graffiti in New Orleans wit hideous grey paint, regardless of the color of the underlying wall!
Some others say that Banksy had come to pay homage to their city and to share their grief and love for struggle. They say that he had highlighted their frustration with the political leaders at the slow pace of recovery. People also feel that he seemed very well informed about the local conditions in New Orleans. This shows that he might have been spending time with some of the local artists and bloggers of the city. Though the reaction of the people is mixed as always most of them feel that what he did was to bring out corruption to light.