Banksy is no stranger to a statement. While the celebrated artist is one of the most recognised in his field, he is also the most elusive. But despite his mysterious nature, the creative is no stranger to Christmas festivities and in recent years the multi-disciplined artist has taken to the streets to create a themed mural – always with a political message in mind.
In 2018, his work appeared on the corner wall of a garage in the Taibach area in South Wales. A young boy was depicted playing in the snow, however after adjusting your view the apparent snow appeared to be ash and paid homage to the industrial and steel works that surrounds the Port Talbot area, following its naming of the most polluted town in the UK, in a report by the World Health Organisation. Almost ironically, the same issue now plagues Australia as rural NSW and Queensland continues to burn through millions of hectares of land. Our cities are now a haze of smoke.
Drawing from his home country of Great Britain, Banksy has revealed his latest, politically-charged mural. Found on Vyse street in Birmingham, the artist unveiled the work via Instagram and depicts two reindeer taking off into the starry night sky. Attached is the bench where a homeless man is sleeping. The mural spotlights the homelessness problem in the English city during the holiday season and calls for generosity without receiving anything in return.
“In the 20 minutes we filmed Ryan on this bench passers-by gave him a hot drink, two chocolate bars and a lighter – without him ever asking for anything,” Banksy explains.
The work has been covered in plastic to prevent vandals defacing the now-famous work. A rival graffiti artist stormed a crowd taking pictures before covering the painting with his own silver paint. The entire incident was caught on camera, as reported by Mirror UK.