As he always does street artist Banksy has popped up again with a piece displayed in London across the street from the French embassy. The piece leads to video that deals with European migration issues. Love him or hate him he always creates press. See more below.
New Banksy Art Sparks a Big Controversy in London
Written by Lilit Marcus January 26, 2016
Banksy’s newest piece pays homage to a beloved Broadway musical.
The painting appeared last night across the street from the French embassy in London.
Mysterious British street artist Banksy has emerged once again, and his latest work is a commentary of France’s treatment of migrants. Banksy’s work has often been politically inflected, and this latest piece is no exception: It’s his take on the poster for the musical Les Miserables, with a little girl crying in front of the French tricolor flag. Next to the girl, there’s a QR code, which, when scanned, links to a video of French police tear-gassing crowds of migrants in the port city of Calais, which is where many migrants go from France to Great Britain.
This isn’t the first time that Banksy has used his work to address the European migrant issue. In summer 2015, he created a pop-up dystopian “bemusement park” called Dismaland, a commentary on capitalism and a clear poke at companies like Disney. When the park was disassembled, many pieces were sent to Calais to help build housing for refugees. Recently, Banksy went to Calais and painted a mural of Apple founder Steve Jobs, whose father was a Syrian migrant.
The currently-unnamed Calais piece has many similarities to a Banksy work from 2012. In May of that year, just before Queen Elizabeth’s Jubilee celebrations and the London Olympics, Banksy unveiled Slave Labour, a mural depicting a little boy working on a sewing machine, on the side of a Poundland discount store (the brand had been linked to child labor practices in other countries). Many locals in the working-class London neighborhood of Wood Green, where Slave Labour was painted, began putting up plastic sheets and traffic cones in order to block off the painting, as they resented the sudden influx of tourists and photographers who showed up to see it, and the painting was eventually removed and auctioned for an estimated £1 million. Like Slave Labour, the Calais piece, which is on a construction site across from the French embassy in the posh London neighborhood of Knightsbridge, has already been blocked from public view, this time with large pieces of wood. There’s no word on what will happen to the piece or if it will remain up, although many bystanders told NBC News that they were disappointed that the mural was covered up so quickly.