Elusive street artist Banksy was recently busy with his latest work which came up inside a compartment in one of London Underground carriages. This time, he seemed to be championing for face masks, and stressed on the importance of wearing one.
He shared a video on his Instagram, wherein he is seen in protective gear akin to those worn by Transport for London (TfL) workers tasked with deep cleaning of carriages. He also wore face mask, goggles and gloves. In the video, while he was at work, Banksy seemed to be asking a co-passenger to back away and move to a different part of the carriage. As is common with many of his artworks, including one which he did inside his own bathroom, this one, too, had rats stencilled near the windows and the walls of the carriage. While one of them seemed to be sneezing blue-coloured droplets, other rats were seen scrambling for safety, using their face masks as parachutes. One of the rats even seemed to offer an anti-bacterial gel.
He called his work ‘If You Don’t Mask, You Don’t Get’, and captioned it as such on Instagram.
Towards the end of the video, the words ‘I get lockdown’ appeared on one side of a station wall, while the train doors close to reveal the words ‘But I get up again’.
While the work was appreciated since it focused on the importance of wearing face masks in public spaces, especially in these times, the artwork was eventually removed and the carriage was cleaned, in line with TfL’s “strict anti-graffiti policy”. While a statement from TfL appreciated the “sentiment of encouraging people to wear face coverings”, it “offered Banksy the chance to do a new version of his message for customers in a suitable location”.
The identity of the anonymous street graffiti artist remains unknown, while his artworks continue to appear in many places around the UK.
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