Arguably Banksy’s most iconic piece, it appeared in South Bank, London in around 2002. The words ‘There Is Always Hope’ are written just behind a young girl, who can be seen reaching for a balloon in the shape of a heart. Intense debate has raged on over the years regarding the true meaning of this stencil, with a variety of ideas involving love, innocence and – obviously – hope.
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There exists a debate about the influence behind his work. Some critics claim Banksy was influenced by musician and graffiti artist 3D. Another source credits the artist's work to resemble that of French graffiti artist called Blek le Rat. It is said that Banksy was inspired by their use of stencils, later taking this visual style and transforming it through modern political and social pieces.[190]
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The theme of weapons and children is a recurring one in Banksy’s pieces. This child soldier bearing a machine gun appeared in Westwood, Los Angeles in 2011 on a wall of “Urban Outfitters” although it didn’t last long before it was vandalised with paint. The piece is no doubt an attempt to highlight the corrupted innocence of children and it is not uncommon to see children brandishing guns and involved in conflicts in highly volatile parts of the world. Child Soldier location
Cameraman and Flower appeared on the wall of a Park City coffee shop in the lead up to the premier of Banksy’s film at Sundance in 2010. It represents the lengths people go to in order to preserve beauty, but often lead to it’s destruction as in this case where the cameraman has uprooted the flower in order to film it. Cameraman and Flower location.
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In 2005, to comment on Israeli involvement in Palestine, Banksy travelled to the Middle East and targeted the West Bank wall. His satirical stencils criticised Israeli militarism and oppression. The works provoked fierce debate in the media over whether a wall judged to be “illegal” by the International Court of Justice could in fact be vandalised. Banksy described the wall as “the ultimate activity holiday destination for graffiti writers".
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The Mild Mild West (1999) Pulp Fiction Gorilla in a Pink Mask Bombing Middle England Girl with Balloon (2002) Bomb Hugger Ballerina with Action Man Parts Parachuting Rat (2003) Untitled (2004) Fragile Silence Well Hung Lover (2006) Self Portrait Space Girl and Bird The Drinker One Nation Under CCTV (2008) Forgive Us Our Trespassing Cardinal Sin (2011) Slave Labour (2012) Better Out Than In (2013) Art Buff (2014) Spy Booth (2014) The Son of a Migrant from Syria (2015) Civilian Drone Strike (2017) Love is in the Bin (2018)
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.[185][186] 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.[187] OMAR NYC also defaced some of Banksy's work in May 2010.[188][189]
In May 2011 Banksy released a lithographic print which showed a smoking petrol bomb contained in a 'Tesco Value' bottle. This followed a long running campaign by locals against the opening of a Tesco Express supermarket in Banksy's home city of Bristol. Violent clashes had taken place between police and demonstrators in the Stokes Croft area. Banksy produced the poster ostensibly to raise money for local groups in the Stokes Croft area and to raise money for the legal defence of those arrested during the riots. The posters were sold exclusively at the Bristol Anarchists Bookfair in Stokes Croft for £5 each.
On 21 February 2007, Sotheby's auction house in London auctioned three works, reaching the highest ever price for a Banksy work at auction: over £102,000 for Bombing Middle England. Two of his other graffiti works, Balloon Girl and Bomb Hugger, sold for £37,200 and £31,200 respectively, which were well above their estimated prices.[53] The following day's auction saw a further three Banksy works reach soaring prices: Ballerina with Action Man Parts reached £96,000; Glory sold for £72,000; Untitled (2004) sold for £33,600; all significantly above estimated values.[54] To coincide with the second day of auctions, Banksy updated his website with a new image of an auction house scene showing people bidding on a picture that said, "I Can't Believe You Morons Actually Buy This Shit."[55] In February 2007, the owners of a house with a Banksy mural on the side in Bristol decided to sell the house through Red Propeller art gallery after offers fell through because the prospective buyers wanted to remove the mural. It is listed as a mural that comes with a house attached.[56] In 2008, Nathan Wellard and Maev Neal, a couple from Norfolk, UK, made headlines in Britain when they decided to sell their mobile home that contains a 30-foot mural, entitled Fragile Silence, done by Banksy a decade prior to his rise to fame. According to Nathan Wellard, Banksy had asked the couple if he could use the side of their home as a "large canvas", to which they agreed. In return for the "canvas", the Bristol stencil artist gave them two free tickets to the Glastonbury Festival. The mobile home purchased by the couple 11 years ago for £1,000, is now being sold for £500,000.[57]

A woman washing zebra stripes was painted by Banksy in the capital city of Mali, Timbuktu and shows a “naked” zebra standing by as his stripes are hung up to dry by an African lady. There appears to be little in the way of any obvious meaning to this piece. It is a playful piece, but maybe the fact that it appeared in the drought-ridden country of Mali and the absurdity of using water in such a frivolous way points to an issue that perhaps the western world could, and should, do more to help impoverished people in the developing world.
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Peter Gibson, a spokesman for Keep Britain Tidy, asserts that Banksy's work is simple vandalism,[198] and Diane Shakespeare, an official for the same organisation, was quoted as saying: "We are concerned that Banksy's street art glorifies what is essentially vandalism."[55] In his column for The Guardian, satirist Charlie Brooker wrote of Banksy "...his work looks dazzlingly clever to idiots."[199]


Peter Gibson, a spokesman for Keep Britain Tidy, asserts that Banksy's work is simple vandalism,[198] and Diane Shakespeare, an official for the same organisation, was quoted as saying: "We are concerned that Banksy's street art glorifies what is essentially vandalism."[55] In his column for The Guardian, satirist Charlie Brooker wrote of Banksy "...his work looks dazzlingly clever to idiots."[199]
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One of Banksy’s more ‘meaningful’ artworks, this was discovered in Fitzrovia (London) in April 2011. It features a rat with red paint on his paw and a paw print on the wall next to him. He stands under the phrase ‘If Graffiti Changed Anything It Would Be Illegal’. It appears to be a swipe at the government due to its reference to an Emma Goldman quote: ‘If voting ever changed anything, it would be illegal’. She campaigned for Women’s rights and voting, and Banksy could be highlighting the fact that each individual vote may rarely change anything. If Graffiti Changed Anything It Would Be Illegal location.
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