Graffiti artist Banksy pursues social justice


Lenore Ferguson, Staff Writer

Banksy, a well-known yet anonymous English graffiti artist, has been in the media’s spotlight for his current exhibit in Rome, Italy, his new artwork of a young girl hula-hooping popping up in Nottingham, England and arguably the most important: his activism throughout all the years he has been making art.

Not much is known about Banksy, but leaked pictures of the artist at work and the location of Banksy’s art as well as his style shows that Banksy is a white British man who has been posting his artwork for over 23 years. Not many people know the identity of Banksy himself due to the nature of his art. “[Banksy is] referred to as a guerrilla artist because he’s doing illegal work,” said studio art teacher Jeffrey Gutterman. “The local government has control over images and the public. You can’t just write on someone’s lawn, you can’t just post stuff.”

A common theme Banksy displays is his activism he shows through his art.“I know his work displays things like him looking out for the little guy, little people, people who don’t have power or control,” said Gutterman. “The hypocrisy of policing and the government. They have all the money and power and they are dictating the little people what they can do and what they can buy.”

Because of Banksy’s anonymity, he uses social media to show his recent accomplishments both as an activist and as an artist. On Aug. 29, 2020, Banksy announced he purchased a French Navy Vessel on Instagram and named it the M.V. Louise Michel to aid “non-europeans” stranded in the Mediterranean Sea whose distress calls are “ignored” by E.U. authorities. 

Banksy takes stands against issues he feels are important. “The concept of brandalism, a word that’s in his pieces,” said Gutterman. “We are flooded with advertising whether it’s on the media or in public…whoever controls these things allows these images to be in my view. It’s forced upon me.”

Although Banksy is anonymous, his artwork and activism is noticed and appreciated by art critics and viewers from across the globe.