Banksy unveils Ukraine gymnast graffito on building shelled by Russia

Renowned street artist Banksy has unveiled his latest artwork, a gymnast graffito painted on the walls of a Ukraine building previously shelled by Russia.

Revealed via the artist’s Instagram page yesterday (November 14), the mural is located in Borodyanka, a Ukrainian town previously occupied and demolished by Russian forces in the early days of Moscow’s invasion. Now, sprawling from the ruins of the war-scarred locale — which elsewhere saw ransacked houses and pillaged shopfronts — and is Banksy’s drawing of a youthful gymnast performing a handstand atop concrete rubble. 

It offers a potent symbol of defiance for a location heavily battered by war, with Borodianka emerging as one of Ukraine’s hardest-hit cities amid its weeks-long occupation by Russian soldiers in February. Months later, the city — located 48km northwest of the Kyiv capital — was reclaimed by Ukraine, having remained liberated from Russia since May. Banksy accompanied his post of the mural with the caption, “Borodyanka, Ukraine.

Credit: Ed Ram / Getty Images


Banksy’s mural is the latest in his signature style to appear throughout the town, with at least two more graffitos seen emblazoned on Borodyankan buildings of late. While the anonymous artist hasn’t claimed official ownership of the separate murals — which include a drawing of a man being judo-flipped, and another of a rhythmic gymnast — they certainly invoke Banksy’s signature, and emerged amid the rebuild efforts currently underway in Borodyanka. 

Credit: Ed Ram / Getty Images

The series is the first set of Banksy artworks to pop up since last year’s Great British Spraycation, which saw the enigmatic artist leave behind his signature pop art commentary at sites across a number of British coastal towns. Also in 2021, Banksy focussed his artistry on fundraising, auctioning off one of his paintings for $23.1 million in support of UK healthcare organisations.

Credit: Ed Ram / Getty Images

That sale was only outdone by Banksy himself in October of last year, when the artist fetched a record-breaking $34.3m in auctioning off his iconic love heart balloon piece titled Love is in the Bin.