Feb 26 1:05 PM

Banksy brings art and attention to battle-scarred Gaza


British street artist Banksy has posted pictures and video of works made during a trip to the war-torn Gaza Strip.

A kitten, presumably painted by Banksy, seen on the remains of a house that witnesses said was destroyed by Israeli shelling during a 50-day war last summer, in Beit Hanoun in the Gaza Strip.
Suhaib Salem / Reuters

One shows a figure reminiscent of Rodin’s “The Thinker” — though, set in a still-standing doorway surrounded by nothing but rubble, the figure seems more distraught than contemplative.

Another Gaza piece depicts a giant kitten, apparently playing with a ball of yarn. Upon closer inspection, however, the ball turns out to be made of twisted metal.

“A local man came up and said ‘Please — what does this mean?’” Banksy wrote. “I explained I wanted to highlight the destruction in Gaza by posting photos on my website — but on the Internet people only look at pictures of kittens.” 

There is also a mural on a wall in the north-Gaza town of Beit Hanoun — rendered in the shadowy stencil technique for which the elusive artist is famous — that shows children on swings circling one of the guard towers that regularly dot the barrier walls that surround Gaza on three sides.

Another mural credited to Banksy is seen on a wall in Beit Hanoun.
Suhaib Salem / Reuters

On another wall, the artist left this message: “If we wash our hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless we side with the powerful — we don’t remain neutral.”

Banksy augmented his work with a video, posted on the artist’s website, sardonically promoting the “opportunities” for tourism and development in devastated region.

This was Banksy’s second known visit to the Palestinian territories. He lent his touch to the West Bank barrier wall in 2005. 


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