Banksy: A Political Activist or a Trick?

Banksy is one of the most famous artists in the world. We know nothing about him except he is British. Contrary to his anonymousness, his work is quite recognizable. Although he is also a political activist, film director, and painter, Banksy is best known for being a graffiti artist. In the ’90s, people could see his works only in Bristol, England, but in the 2000s, they began to be accessible worldwide.

The Source of his Fame

As a guerrilla artist, Banksy gives anti-war and environmentalist messages while defending animal rights and criticizing the consumption frenzy in his works. 

Banksy’s career began with graffiti themed “A Man In the Midst of Crisis” on England’s streets in the 1900s. Since then, he has used images of children, balloons, elders, police, soldiers, and monkeys in his artwork. 

Banksy’s Artwork

Girl With Balloon by Banksy

One of Banksy’s first graffiti is “The Mild Mild West,” which he drew in his hometown Bristol in 1999. Bristolians believed the fluffy bear represents their personalities. “Girl with Balloon,” dated 2002, is considered one of his most influential works. 

In 2014, he reproduced “Girl with Balloon” for the commemoration of the Syrian civil war. He modified this piece by adding a headscarf to the girl. Then he drew it again in 2017, including the British flag on the balloon before the UK elections. 

Love Is In The Bin, by Banksy

Finally, in 2018, a 2006 frame print of “Girl with Balloon” was sold for more than £1 million. After seconds of selling, the piece shredded half of itself. We now call it, “Love is in the Bin.” 

Banksy shared the shredding video, quoting Picasso’s words: “The urge to destroy is also a creative urge.” Besides, on Valentine’s Day 2020, he revised the “Girl with Balloon.” He painted a girl firing many flowers into the air, using a catapult in Bristol to protest the consumption frenzy.

His works in Palestine also attract attention, and he painted more than 20 graffiti. “The Flower Thrower” shows a masked Palestinian throwing a bouquet. The flowers represent hope for peaceful resolution of conflicts. He also painted nine graffiti on the 680-kilometer wall built by Israel with the pretext of security. He painted them on the Israel side of the wall, and later, he announced through his spokesman that he had no life safety while drawing these pictures.

Banksy, (2005). The Flower Thrower, [Spray Paint]. Jerusalem.

Banksy has countless graffiti. Both “Sweep it Under the Carpet,” and “No Future” are some of Banksy’s graffiti that protest governments’ policies. “Fridge Kite” and “Follow Your Dreams” are about poverty. Finally, “Parking” and “I Don’t Believe in Global Warming” are about environmental issues.

The Cost of Banksy’s Artwork

As an anti-capitalist activist, Banksy said that he isn’t comfortable with the prices of his paintings. At an auction in 2008, “Keep It Spotless” was sold for just over £1 million. In the same year, a mobile home with a piece of Banksy artwork was given a £500,000 price tag. Many people assume that the shredding incident in 2018 was his act against expensive paintings. His spokesmen announced that he doesn’t need the money, and the fact that is he is into street art shows his anti-capitalist attitude because some of his graffiti don’t even last a day.


Özen, B., & Eken, G. (2017). Hidden Artist of Street Art, Banksy. Dergi Park, 8, 499-519.

Ellsworth-Jones, W. (2013). The Story Behind Banksy. Smithsonian Magazine.

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Beauchat, T. (2019). The Mild Mild West. Passion. Retrieved from

Girl with balloon – Banksy’s most inspiring painting?. (2009). Retrieved 29 September 2020, from

Morris, S., & Fisher, B. (2020). Say it with Banksy? Valentine’s gift catapults house to street art fame. Retrieved 30 September 2020, from

Banksy’s Rage, The Flower Thrower – Everything you need to know. (2020). Retrieved 30 September 2020, from

131 Amazing Banksy Graffiti Artworks With Locations. (2020). Retrieved 30 September 2020, from

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