Elusive street artist and political activist Banksy went undercover to create a COVID-19 themed work on the London Underground.
Banksy painted a number of rats, sneezing, using face masks as parachutes and creating their own graffiti. Sadly, the piece has already been removed because it violates Transport For London’s “strict anti-graffiti policy.”
Banksy has shared a video of himself on the Tube creating a coronavirus-themed artwork which has already been removed.
Banksy’s video sees the artist dressed head-to-toe in protective gear, which works to both protect his anonymous identity and protect him from COVID-19. In contrast to many of his previous works, Banksy is shown painting while commuters are seated around him.
The artist shared the video on his Instagram, captioned, “If you don’t mask – you don’t get”. The new piece includes a rat sneezing blue liquid across the carriage walls, two rats using masks as parachutes, and another doing its own graffiti. Banksy also left two notes, which read, “I get lockdown” and “But I get up again” – an allusion to Chumbawamba’s most famous track Tubthumping.
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The new Tube piece marks one of the first public works since Valentine’s day, but that doesn’t mean Banksy hasn’t been busy. COVID-19 has forced him to do things a little differently and the artist has been sharing some work on his Instagram, including his own collection of rats wreaking havoc on his bathroom and an anti-racism piece dedicated to the Black Lives Matter movement.
Recently a stolen Banksy piece was discovered in a farmhouse attic, with the thieves arrested for their crime. While many have expressed their love for Banksy and his new piece, others believe that the artist should not be seen as above the law due to his fame. While some see Banksy as an artist and political activists, others only see vandalism in his work.
Totally confused How you can call this brilliant!
A vandal is a vandal, or is it ok to ruin transport as long as you are ‘famous’ or someone likes your drawing!
Does this mean I can draw over others property also?
The man is actually a disrespectful arse!
— TPL (@TPL10081737) July 14, 2020
In a statement about the artwork’s removal, a spokesperson for Transport For London stated that “the sentiment of encouraging people to wear face coverings” was appreciated and that they would like to “offer Banksy the chance to do a new version of his message for our customers in a suitable location.”