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  • Writer's pictureGabrielle Turnbull

Banksy: The Mysterious Artist

In late December last year, the world’s television public was intrigued to view images of a man removing a traffic stop sign from a South London street and running off with it.

But this was no ordinary traffic stop sign.

Closer scrutiny revealed that the sign had three drone images painted onto it. The two men involved with the theft of the sign were subsequently arrested and it was only then that the sign’s uniqueness was revealed.

It was a Banksy artwork, suggesting the artist’s call for a ceasefire of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. The artist shared images of the theft on Instagram.

The Art of Banksy

Why such a valuable painted work had been allowed to be retained in such a publicly accessed place puzzled most, as some of the artist’s more recent work had commanded prices into the many millions.

But the mysteriously eccentric Banksy is no stranger to creating artworks in unusual places consisting of even more unusual subjects.

Much has been written about this mysterious modern-day visual artist, but their true identity remains a mystery.

The artist is rumoured to have been born in Bristol in the United Kingdom in 1974.

Banksy has become famous for the spray-painted, stencilled images on canvases that can be a door, an outside wall, an abandoned freezer or even the front of a Bethlehem hotel that is owned by the artist. The work is confirmed on social media, but their message is never revealed there.

But most messages are interpretable, with many depicting a form of cultural criticism. 

The artist has travelled extensively. Politics, belief systems and the arts have all featured in the artist’s acerbic work.

“The art world is the biggest joke. It is a rest home for the overprivileged, the pretentious and the weak!” is a comment attributed to the artist. Cities in Europe, the United States, the Middle and the Far East have all come to recognise Banksy's distinctive painting style.

Destroying artwork is not an uncommon practice.

In 2018, the artist notoriously destroyed a work by shredding it, after it had sold at auction for US$1.4 million.

Current speculation suggests that the mysterious Banksy resides in the United Kingdom. 

Contact Gabrielle Turnbull at Art So Lively Art Academy, Shop 2 Comino’s Arcade, Redcliffe. Or call 0477 002545 or email 


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