Less than 24 hours after Boris Johnson announced everyone in England will have to wear face coverings in shops and supermarkets from the 24th of July or face fines, Banksy unveiled his latest public installation on the London Underground.
A video on Banksy’s Instagram shows a man, believed to be the enigmatic artist disguised as a professional cleaner, spray painting and stencilling rats on the inside of the tube carriage. An unmasked rat sneezes spray paint across the carriage whilst other masked rats use face masks as parachutes and a bottle of hand sanitiser to leave the tag, ‘Banksy’.
At the end of the video, the words "I get lockdown" appear on the side of a station wall before the doors close to reveal the phrase "but I get up again", and Chumbawamba's 1997 song Tubthumping kicks in.
This latest work is another example of Banksy’s ability to condense complex political situations into deceptively simple imagery that captures the feelings of a nation. Every work has a viral effect and keeps the world wanting more. Also known as, ‘The Banksy Effect’.
Typical of his ephemeral style of satirical street art that has made him one of the most notorious street artists of his time, the installation has already been destroyed by Transport for London who have commented;
"We appreciate the sentiment of encouraging people to wear face coverings, which the vast majority of customers on our transport network are doing. In this particular case, the work was removed some days ago due to our strict anti-graffiti policy. We'd like to offer Banksy the chance to do a new version of his message for our customers in a suitable location.”
“I get lockdown, but I get up again”
It’s not the first Covid-inspired artwork by Banksy. During lockdown he also covered his own bathroom in rats and posted on Instagram with the caption, ‘My wife hates it when I work from home’.
Later he donated ‘Game Changer’ featuring an NHS nurse as a childhood hero to Southampton General Hospital with the message, “Thanks for all you’re doing. I hope this brightens the place up a bit, even if it’s only black and white.”
Banksy prints are part of our history…
Enter Gallery’s founder, Lawrence Alkin helped Banksy go POP! He has been a key figure in the development of the urban art movement that we know today and has built the gallery to be one of the country’s top urban art spaces. He has helped launch the career of many an artist, including the illusive Banksy…
As part of Brighton Fringe 2004, Lawrence collaborated with Pictures on Walls to take over the 5000 sq ft space of the Argus Lofts in Brighton to put on the POP! show.
POP! was one of the first occasions Banksy's work had been exhibited, with limited editions selling for around £100. The poster reveals the profile that Banksy had at the time.
Lawrence eventually went on to sell over 8000 Banksy prints over a three year period;
“We sort of recognised that this was a bit of a phenomenon, something special”.
Have a Banksy to sell? Consign your Banksy with Enter Gallery.