The appearance of a new mural by Banksy in Dover, England caught the attention of many followers on his Instagram account and the mass media folks quickly reported on the new piece that comments on the current state of the EU.
Banksy. Dover, England. Photo @banksy Instagram
10 months since the Brexit vote, the anonymous artist has created a thoughtful piece marking the crack in the European Union, depicting a white male worker on a ladder chipping away one of the stars on the EU flag, a fissure produced by the action reaching upwards and outwards toward the others.
The new mural by the Banksy team reminds us of a 2014 version of the EU flag done by the Portuguese Street Artist MaisMenos, who used his rendition as a comment about Norway’s position in relation to joining the EU, namely ‘No way’. It may have been a preliminary Street Art indicator of the rising sentiments against the union which leads us to this new one. A participant of the Nuart Festival in Stavanger that year, MaisMenos smartly employed a smokestack above the mural, placing Norway’s star outside the circle, far to the north.
A 2014 mural by the Portuguese Street Artist in Stavanger, Norway also used the EU flag to express a certain discontent. (photo © Steven P. Harrington)
For the new Banksy piece, some thought the unveiling was timed to coincide with the French elections on Sunday – but the outcome of that election wouldn’t contribute further to the dissolution of the EU, rather the opposite if Mr. Macron is to continue that countries membership. Perhaps it is just a visual realization that Brexit appears to be irreversible and Mrs. May will continue to withdraw her country from the economic arrangements.
Italian Street Artist BLU in 2012 creates a barbed wire periphery for the EU flag. Photo © BLU
And thumbs up to Don Stone of From Here to Fame Publishing for reminding us of BLU’s shot at the EU flag in 2012, which depicts the yellow star symbols of each nation member as barbs on a wire fence that points to the xenophobic elements that influence national debates.
Detail of barbed wire periphery in the EU flag by Italian Street Artist BLU in 2012. Photo © BLU
That circular fence in this case is being used to keep people out of the EU and it would be a reasonable reading of the piece that they are refugees seeking safety and asylum. They’re all blue (or blu) but you can also guess that the masses outside the fence are brown and beige and black skinned folks from countries under siege by economic and oil wars.
Watching how far those cracks reach throughout Europe… Banksy. Dover, England. Detail Photo @banksy Instagram
Please note: This article was updated to include information on BLU after the original published post.