British street artist Banksy has highlighted the issue of the homeless in a seasonal mural that shows two flying reindeer pulling a homeless man on a street-bench sleigh.
The artwork, created in Banksy’s trademark stencilled graffiti style, appeared in Birmingham central England over the weekend.
A video posted on Banksy’s Instagram shows a bearded man named Ryan reclining on the bench, echoing the traditional image of Santa on his sleigh.
“God bless Birmingham,” Banksy wrote. “In the 20 minutes we filmed Ryan on this bench, passers-by gave him a hot drink, two chocolate bars and a lighter – without him ever asking for anything.”
The video got over 3 million views on Instagram in the first 24 hours.
The two reindeer gained red noses in the hours after the mural was unveiled. A protective fence was in place on Tuesday, to prevent other additions.
Here’s are some of the reactions to the video on social media:
Had to visit the new Banksy around the corner from my work just now! pic.twitter.com/66Zfw1VRrA
— Cam (@CamR493) December 10, 2019
Banksy’s homeless mural has been covered in a protective layer after being vandalised
The artwork has now received more attention and protection in the last 10 hours than the rough sleepers of Brum have received in a decade
— MiMi xxx (@Mi_xxxMi) December 10, 2019
The #Banksy artwork of Reindeers in #Birmingham ? Hundreds of people came to take photgraphs of it ..
Saying it wonderful ! Just heard a guy on the news saying ..it highlights #homelessness ..Well done that man ! That is the real message #Homelessness #Xmas #Social Inclusion !
— Maureen Fitzsimmons (@mojos55) December 10, 2019
— L’antiapatico. (@BaldCezar) December 10, 2019
Works by Banksy, who has never revealed his identity, have rocketed in value.
A large Banksy painting of chimps sitting in Britain’s parliament sold for more than $12 million in October, a record price at auction for his work.
Later in the same month, however, Banksy opened his own “online store”, selling works for as little as 10 pounds to buyers who were randomly selected and who could answer the question: “Why does art matter?”
with inputs from Reuters