“A local man came up and said ‘Please – what does this mean?’ I explained I wanted to highlight the destruction in Gaza by posting photos on my website – but on the internet people only look at pictures of kittens.”
This is how Banksy’s latest work is presented on his website. The unidentified street artist has re-emerged in Gaza to create a political mini-documentary about life inside the war-torn region.re-emerging in Gaza to create a political mini-documentary about life inside the war-torn region.
In the short film, posted to his website overnight, the artist appears to enter Gaza via underground tunnels before emerging through a metal door and into the rubble.
Typical of Banksy’s work, the video is a pointed political statement about the dire situation for residents of Gaza. At least 2,200 Palestinians were killed in last summer’s war with Israel, according to the United Nations. (Israel argues that the militant group Hamas fires rockets out of civilian areas. At least five Israeli civilians and 67 soldiers were killed in the conflict.)
The video is also sharply satirical, framed as a travel ad that begins by saying, “Make this the year you discover a new destination.” Glowing descriptions flash by such as “nestled in an exclusive setting,” as the cameraman pans to show areas of total destruction, and “watched over by friendly neighbours,” before listing the number of homes blown up by missile fire.
Among the destroyed buildings and bleak reality, Banksy is shown painting a piece titled “Bomb Damage” that depicts the Greek goddess Niobe cowering and weeping in the only part that remains of a building. The goddess, a bereaved mother who lost her children due to pride, illustrates in Greek mythology how the gods will not hesitate to take vengeance on human arrogance.
An image of this work was uploaded to Banksy’s instagram account as a teaser before the entire video was released.
The documentary also features new work showing a cat playing with a ball of metal, in a shot where children play in the foreground:
Another piece is of a watchtower merry-go-round, painted in black on the side of a building. Banksy wrote: “Gaza is often described as ‘the world’s largest open air prison’ because no one is allowed to enter or leave. But that seems a bit unfair to prisons — they don’t have their electricity and drinking water cut off randomly almost everyday.”
The final piece shows a boy climbing a wall sprayed with the word: “IF WE WASH OUR HANDS OF THE CONFLICT BETWEEN THE POWERFUL AND THE POWERLESS WE SIDE WITH THE POWERFUL – WE DON’T REMAIN NEUTRAL”.
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