Bansky's West Bank Street Art
Bansky's West Bank images from his trip to Israel came about as a social commentary about the controversial wall that separates Israeli citizens from Palestinian. As seen above, the dove holding an olive branch, symbol of peace, is wearing a flak jacket with a target in red as it would appear behind the
focusing element of an AK 47 or other semi-automatic rifle as that seen held in the arms of the Israeli soldier. Bansky created a total of 9 graffiti art images on the 425 foot "security" wall that the United Nations has declared as unlawful - the wall, that is. The wall was discussed at my visit to the U.S. Consulate in July 2007 on a Fulbright Hays Summer Seminar to Egypt/Israel for six weeks. We were told that we couldn't go to Bethlehem or other sites in the West Bank for security reasons. It's too bad since I could have witnessed this remarkable collection of art produced by Bansky in person. While in Israel, I was aware of the tensions and felt especially worried at the site of Israel teenagers with visible rifles and other types of weapons. No gun control here, except for Palestinian gun control. I think that Bansky creates a very poignant message which is an aim of graffiti.
A quote by Bansky regarding his semi-political art statements for an audience in the Palestinian territories is as follows: "The Israeli government is building a wall surrounding the occupied Palestinian territories. It stands three times the height of the Berlin Wall and will eventually run for over 700km = the distance from London to Zurich. The wall is illegal under international law and essentially turns Palestine into the world's largest open prison." He also said, according to Guardian journalist Sam Jones, that "It also makes it the ultimate activity holiday destination for graffiti writers."
Bansky's street art addresses the oxymoron of showing a wonderful vacation scene behind the wall, hinting at the gorgeous life offered to Israeli's while Palestinians are stuck on the other side looking in at what they can't have. For some, it made the wall appear aesthetically beautiful but as an old Palestinian man stated, "we don't want it to look beautiful, we hate this wall. Go home."
Does graffiti/street/mural art appeal to everyone? Not at all. During Bansky's creative process, he had guns pointed at him and several shot live ammo into the air. Hmmm. What would I do to create or see such controversial art? I'm not sure but Bansky, like some other graffiti artists in censorious countries like Iran and Afghanistan, have taken the risk and given voices to those who cannot express themselves freely. For the full article see the online The Guardian site published August 5, 2005 by journalist Sam Jones. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2005/aug/05/Israel.artsnews