Few days ago 6 new murals by the well-known, but with a mysterious identity yet, street artist Banksy appeared in Paris, directly taking aim at France’s policies about the Refugee Crisis.
So it really seems that Banksy may be visiting the City of Lights for his first time, but he didn’t come for romance: aiming at France’s refugee crisis, the British street artist appears to have targeted Paris with at least three murals and several of his signature rats in various locations, over the walls of Porte de la Chapelle, avenue de Flandre ands some areas around the 5′ arrondissement.
The first work, appropriately enough, has been discovered by Parisians on World Refugee Day, June 20, just near the Porte de la Chapelle metro station in the North of Paris, where the city’s refugee reception center “La Bulle” (The Bubble) was once situated, providing housing for between 2,000 and 3,000 refugees until French president Emmanuel Macron closed it last year. In the past three years, nearly 40 makeshift refugee camps in the capital have been razed to the ground by French authorities. This provocative mural works shows a young girl spray-painting a flowery pink wallpaper pattern over a swastika on the street, trying to beautify the dismal area next to her sleeping bag and teddy bear as a symbol of the hope for a better life common to all immigrants when they came to an other country.
Another of the new works appears on a wall in an ethnically-mixed district of northern Paris, to touch on the equally sensitive subject of the ban on the niqab in France: It shows Napoleon rearing his horse as he crosses the Alps to invade Italy in 1800, his face and body wrapped in his red cloak, in the exactly the same way it was depicted by Jacque-Louis David, famous French painter during the revolution.Instead of Bonaparte, however, Banksy’s rider looks almost comical: A red cape blows back over the rider, covering their face, suggesting perhaps that the country’s leadership is blind.
The thirty one present a “disneyfication ” of May 1968:on the Left Bank near the Sorbonne university, which was rocked by a student uprising 50 years ago, one of Banksy’s trademark rats, his avatar for wronged ordinary people, sits under the caption “May 1968” wearing a Minnie Mouse bow.
A fourth mural nearby took a swipe at politicians and business leaders. A man in a suit offers a dog a bone having first sawn the animal’s leg off , suggesting the bone might be the canine’s own.
Banksy, who usually claims his works on his website, has not yet confirmed that the new Paris works were indeed painted by him, and none of the works are signed. artnet News has reached out to the artist’s handling and authentication company Pest Control but also had not received a response by press time.
Even if none of the works were signed or claimed, however experts are sure they look genuine.
“The color, the line, the subject and the way he has adapted the images from photos… all point to them being Banksy’s style. There is a very particular signature. If [the mural of the girl] is not by Banksy, it is a very good copy,” said art historian and street art expert Paul Ardenne.