Banksy is back and in France, taking aim at the French government’s crackdown on migrants in a series of new murals in Paris.
The world’s best known street artist has “blitzed” the French capital over the last few days, leaving as many as six works on walls across the city.
The first work takes issue with France’s tough anti-migrant policy, with nearly 40 makeshift camps razed in Paris in the last three years and President Emmanuel Macron determined that the city does not become a magnet for refugees.
In the mural a young black girl sprays a pink wallpaper pattern over a swastika on a wall next to her sleeping bag and teddy bear in an attempt to make her patch of pavement more cosy.
The image is on a wall in northern Paris next to an official refugee shelter which was controversially closed in March despite protests from the city’s Socialist mayor Anne Hidalgo.
Since then around 2,000 migrants, including children and teenagers, have been sleeping rough along canals and under motorway bridges.
The second and third pieces appeared soon thereafter. One depicts a suited man luring a three-legged dog with a bone while hiding a saw behind his back, a metaphor for politicians tricking people with promises that often have a masked, devastating agenda. The other is Banksy’s take on the iconic painting “Napoleon Crossing the Alps” by Jacques-Louis David, a symbol of French power and influence. By covering the rider with his own cape, the artist is commenting on the current misguided way the government is leading the country, blinding people with propaganda and false promises.
The last three pieces introduce Bansky’s signature rats to their genesis—Parisian artist Blek Le Rat and his rat stencils were a great influence on the Bristol-born artist. Placing them around the city in ways that interact with local graffiti and building facades, it may appear as though they’re having fun blowing things up. But in reality, they are a reminder of a volatile period of civil unrest that took place in May 1968 when the government temporarily ceased to function.
In one piece a rat is propelled by a popping champagne bottle cork. Using this symbol of affluence as their vehicle to overtake obstacles, the rodents are once again Banksy’s metaphor for working class people making significant change when they join together and fight for similar cause.
All photos courtesy of WhereTheresWalls.
15 Centre Pompidou
18 "I had planned to paint this on a wall, but ended up thinking it was more like a cartoon."
19 Fire door, Bataclan
21 Flashback to a very Banksy "The Simpsons" episode:
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