Banksy highlights the issue of homelessness at Christmas time
Earlier this month, another iconic Banksy graffiti artwork was spotted in the city of Birmingham, which appeared on a brick wall beside a public bench. The graffiti image displays two reindeers with reins so they appear to be attached to the bench in order to represent Santa’s sleigh. The artwork itself has been complimented by man locals calling the art ‘beautiful’ and will be thought of as appropriate as we are approaching the Christmas season. However, the reindeer style graffiti was not created to merely spread joy and Christmas spirit, but instead were designed to highlight the struggle of homelessness during this festive period.
Homelessness in the UK is still a very major issue that effects many men, women and children across the country and although Christmas time is usually a magical and warm one for families, it is a dark, lonely and cold time for those living on the streets.
Banksy posted a video of the work featuring a homeless man named Ryan, onto his Instagram account. The video started off with Ryan making the public bench as comfortable as possible for him to lie down and use as his bed for the night. As he does this, the camera slowly begins to zoom out, so we can see Ryan’s surroundings. There the graffiti wall appears to the audience. The full image of the bench acting as the sleigh becomes obvious when the camera stops zooming out and focuses on the whole image with Ryan eventually lying down on the bench. Soft festive music is playing in the background to go with the Christmas imagery of the art but also brings to light no matter what time of the year it is, there are still people homeless in the UK, regardless of Christmas or not.
https://www.instagram.com/p/B52l1NkHa71/ – Video from Banksy’s Instagram.
Not long after the masterpiece was created it was then vandalized by someone spraying a red nose onto each of the reindeers. A graffiti artist named ‘Hers’ has since come forward claiming it was him who had spray painted over the work due to the fact so much money was being spent on protecting the graffiti, taking away its message about the struggle of homelessness this Christmas and winter. By coming forward, the artist now hopes that everyone will start focusing on the homeless issue rather than worrying about who painted the red noses. Hers stresses how he is a big fan of Banksy as he too is a graffiti artist and only vandalized the work to promote the original message of the artwork.
To anyone who is new to the work of Banksy, you must know this is not Banksy’s first political statement and nor will it be his last.