A Dictatorship Begins With Art

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.

December 2022

© Percival Alexander