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Bansky: A Cultural Icon

Tara Zadeh, Journalist

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Banksy is an anonymous street artist based in the United Kingdom. Banksy’s art is satirical and out-of-the-ordinary. It combines social and political issues with a dark humor and imagination. Banksy displays his art in public and visible places, such as building walls or streets. Banksy’s work is not principally sold, but some pieces are non-publicly sold through Pest Control, a handling service acting on behalf of Banksy. A documentary on Banksy was debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in 2010, and it won an Academy Award in 2011. Banksy’s name and identity are not confirmed, but there are multiple speculations to who Banksy could be. The most valid speculation is that Banksy is Robin Gunningham, an individual born in Yate, England on July 28, 1973. The most plausible reason that Banksy remains unidentified is because graffiti is illegal and condemned in Europe. Banksy’s work is displayed all around the world, principally in metropolitan areas, and each piece serves as a tribute to popular culture and elements of modern society.

In early October, one of Banksy’s pieces, Balloon Girl, was sold in an auction at Sotheby’s auction house in London. The price was sold for 1.4 million pounds, and upon the sale, an alarm sounded from the frame of the picture, and the paper subsequently shredded. Shortly after the shredding, Banksy used social media to justify the shredding, and he shared a video of him installing a remote-activated paper shredder into the the frame that held the picture, in case it was to go for auction. The picture was supposedly expected to fully shred, but it was only partially. The shredding is referred to as a self-destruction of the piece, and it is recognized as one of the most prominent pranks in art history. The value of the piece is said to have increased by about half of the original price. Through Banksy’s eccentric art and tactics, he has become a globally-know cultural icon.

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Bansky: A Cultural Icon