I can’t stand Banksy. I find the vacuity of his work to be reflected by those who admire him, and so I laughed my head off when I saw that locals had been detained after ‘stealing’ a mural he had painted on a wall in Ukraine. What exactly does his art represent in this context? Is it some kind of subversive comment on the plight of Ukrainians against an invading force? Personally, I think it embodies somewhat the kind of colonial power it purports to subvert, I.e., locals didn’t ask for his mural but saw an opportunity to capitalise from it themselves – which, in my view, is understandable (not to mention ironic) – that winds up seeing them duly punished. There’s a similar presumption of passivity, which has long betrayed the latent authoritarianism lurking behind every work of art.
© Percival Alexander