Earlier today, street artist Banksy posted new work to his new Instagram, leading to all sorts of speculation about what he was up to and where the piece was. As it turns out, it was done in Palestine. Banksy just updated his website with footage that appears to show him entering “a network of illegal tunnels” and emerging in Gaza, where he painted a bunch of new work amidst the rubble and bombed-out buildings.
The video, highly critical of Israel’s incursion and military campaign last year, presents a very satirical take on the hardships suffered by Palestinians. “The locals like it so much they never leave,” flashes text on the screen, followed by “(because they’re not allowed to),” as the footage cuts to images of IDF soldiers.
“Gaza is often described as ‘the world’s largest open air prison’ because no-one is allowed to enter or leave. But that seems a bit unfair to prisons – they don’t have their electricity and drinking water cut off randomly almost every day,” wrote Banksy in a caption on his website.
According to a recent Associated Press report, Israeli airstrikes killed 844 people in their homes during the nearly two month invasion, and that over 60 percent of those fatalities were civilians: children, women and older men. Israel contends that the war was necessary to stop the barrage of qassam rockets and destroy the illegal underground tunnels.
In 2005, Banksy garnered worldwide attention when he painted Israel’s massive Separation Wall from the Palestinian side. In a statement, he blasted the barrier. “The segregations wall is a disgrace,” he said. “The possibility I find exciting is you could turn the world’s most invasive and degrading structure into the world’s longest gallery of free speech and bad art.”