The Westminster City Council stated in October 2008 that the work One Nation Under CCTV, painted in April 2008 would be painted over as it was graffiti. The council said it would remove any graffiti, regardless of the reputation of its creator, and specifically stated that Banksy "has no more right to paint graffiti than a child". Robert Davis, the chairman of the council planning committee told The Times newspaper: "If we condone this then we might as well say that any kid with a spray can is producing art." The work was painted over in April 2009. In December 2008, The Little Diver, a Banksy image of a diver in a duffle coat in Melbourne, Australia, was destroyed. The image had been protected by a sheet of clear perspex; however, silver paint was poured behind the protective sheet and later tagged with the words "Banksy woz ere". The image was almost completely obliterated.
Murals can be a relatively effective tool of social emancipation or achieving a political goal. Murals have sometimes been created against the law, or have been commissioned by local bars and coffeeshops. Often, the visual effects are an enticement to attract public attention to social issues. State-sponsored public art expressions, particularly murals, are often used by totalitarian regimes as a tool of propaganda. However, despite the propagandist character of that works, some of them still have an artistic value.
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A unique community participatory art initiative is a collaboration between DBHIDS and the City of Philadelphia’s Mural Arts Program (MAP) as well as local artists, behavioral health service recipients, community members, providers, local funders and academic partners. Porch Light represents an “out-of-the-box” approach to improve community resilience and wellness, as well as an innovative way for communities to improve their understanding of behavioral health conditions.
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Many works that make up the Better Out Than In series in New York City have been defaced, some just hours after the piece was unveiled. At least one defacement was identified as done by a competing artist, OMAR NYC, who spray-painted over Banksy's red mylar balloon piece in Red Hook. OMAR NYC also defaced some of Banksy's work in May 2010.
Banksy's works have dealt with various political and social themes, including anti-war, anti-consumerism, anti-fascism, anti-imperialism, anti-authoritarianism, anarchism, nihilism, and existentialism. Additionally, the components of the human condition that his works commonly critique are greed, poverty, hypocrisy, boredom, despair, absurdity, and alienation. Although Banksy's works usually rely on visual imagery and iconography to put forth their message, Banksy has made several politically related comments in their various books. In summarising his list of "people who should be shot", he listed "Fascist thugs, religious fundamentalists, (and) people who write lists telling you who should be shot." While facetiously describing his political nature, Banksy declared that "Sometimes I feel so sick at the state of the world, I can't even finish my second apple pie."
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