Street artist Banksy has gone undercover in Gaza to make a short satirical documentary about the war-torn region. “Make this the year you discover a new destination,” it says, in the style of a tourism video. But instead of sandy beaches and palm trees, it offers viewers a glimpse of what it is like in Gaza “well away from the tourist track”, including tunnels, rubble and children playing among some of the 18,000 homes destroyed last year.
The video shows several of Banksy’s latest graffiti pieces, including images of children swinging from a surveillance tower, a parent grieving over a child in a bombed-out setting, and a kitten donning a pink bow. A caption on Banksy’s website read: “A local man came up and said ‘Please – what does this mean?’ I explained I wanted to highlight the destruction in Gaza by posting photos on my website – but on the internet people only look at pictures of kittens.”
Banksy adds: “Gaza is often described as ‘the world’s largest open air prison’ because no-one is allowed to enter or leave. “But that seems a bit unfair to prisons – they don’t have their electricity and drinking water cut off randomly almost everyday.”
It ends with the message, painted onto a wall, which reads: “If we wash our hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless we side with the powerful – we don’t remain neutral.”
The video, uploaded to his official website, is not the first time Banksy has used street art to make statements on the Israel-Palestine conflict.
In 2005, he created a series of striking artworks in the region including one in which a crack in the wall separating the West Bank from Israel revealed a painted paradise of palm tress, turquoise sea and a sandy beach.
This post is also available in: Dutch