Banksy for Ukraine
A series of brand new Banksy murals have been located across Ukraine, from Kyiv to Borodyanka. As ever with the Bristol street artist, their overt anti-war messaging and solidary with the people is clear.
Using art as a political weapon has always been a core part of Banksy’s street art practice and activism. As the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues to devastate lives, it was only a matter of time until new Banksy murals would begin to appear in support of the Ukrainian people.
This is not the first time Banksy has travelled to warzones to offer his support during tough times, as back in 2017 he erected the Walled Off Hotel in Bethlehem.
WHAT DO THE NEW MURALS MEAN?
The most significant of Banksy’s new murals is sprayed onto the wall of a missile-damaged kindergarten building. It depicts the final moments of a judo match with a young boy throwing an adult with a black belt to the ground. The depiction of the judo match may at first seem out of place, but this is actually a direct affront to the Russian leader by Banksy. Vladmir Putin, who has waged the illegal invasion of Ukraine, was stripped of his taekwondo black belt and honorary judo title by the International Judo Federation and European Judo Federation back in March 2022.
Riffing off the well-known story of David & Goliath, the young boy in the mural is likely meant to represent Ukraine defeating Putin’s Russia with defiant will. A powerful and moving image, Banksy has proved himself yet again as a street artist able to succinctly convey strong messages via potent symbolism and clever references.
Banksy’s new video of the murals in Ukranine, published via Instagram, shows a mother and child describing their changed lives. They stand next to the new mural sprayed onto the child’s, now destroyed, kindergarten school. It is also accompanied by a popular Ukranian folk song, ‘Chervona Ruta’, a song about a mythical flower that brings happiness and hope in love.
So what is graffiti?
Tap link to read more about Banksy by our Art contributor Kinjal Trivedi