Arts, Entertainment & Media

Banksy, cover it up! Reviewing political public art.


Behind boards, the Banksy mural commenting on the treatment of refugees in the Calais camp the ‘jungle’. Opposite the French Embassy in London. Standing next to the boards is a security guard. Image: Harriet Onyett

Whether you view graffiti as art or vandalism it is clear that this mural is political activism.

The mural is the image of a young girl with the background of the French flag, reminiscent of the poster of Les Miserables.

There is an open can of CS gas (tear gas) at the girl’s feet and tears running down her face.

Banksy has taken credit for the mural.

The new piece appeared on Sunday 24th January, opposite the French Embassy in London’s Knightsbridge.

After the construction crew working on the building failed to remove it with crowbars, it has now been covered up with plywood.



The French Embassy with the boarded mural and yellow jacketed security guard. Image: Harriet Onyett

I believe that there is a larger issue at play here to do with public art.

The mural was created with a political imperative in mind and within hours of the work being revealed it was covered.

This is not only a stiffling of artistic inspiration but also of political unrest within London.

It is the first piece of Banksy artwork to be interactive, it contained a QR code with a link to the below video of police using teargas at the French refugee camp known as ‘the jungle’:


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