Banksy is the famous and elusive graffiti artist whose works are very valuable and yet he creates them on walls in public places where almost anyone can steal them. He has created works around Gaza City to highlight the plight of the Palestinians who are waiting for pledges to be honored worth billions of dollars to rebuild large tracts of the Gaza strip which were destroyed by shells fired by the Israelis during the last war between the countries.
He has created a series of pieces on walls around Gaza City. One is similar to Rodin’s The Thinker. The work I’d like to feature is a kitten painted on the side of a ruined building playing with a giant ball of scrap metal from homes destroyed in the shelling.
Banksy said, “A local man came up and said. ‘Please – what does this mean?’ I explained I wanted to highlight the destruction of Gaza by posting photos on my website, but on the internet people only look at pictures of kittens.”
He makes a neat point. A point that I have made myself. My interpretation is that he is saying that people are focusing their attention on the internet cat or celebrity cat as symbols of entertainment rather than dealing with pressing humanitarian problems, which we should deal with first before we seek entertainment.
Banksy wrote the following on another wall, “If we wash our hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless we side with the powerful – we don’t remain neutral.
Being obsessed as many have been with the internet meme that is the funny/celebrity cat we are doing exactly as Banksy states.