Monday, 8 June 2020

British Artist Banksy Unveils Work Featuring Burning American Flag

British street artist Banksy on Saturday unveiled a new painting that shows an American flag burning.
Banksy, whose identity is unknown, included a message with the work, which says racism is a “white problem,” adding that if it’s not fixed, violence will follow.
“At first I thought I should just shut up and listen to black people about the issue. But why would I do that? It’s not their problem. It’s mine,” the artist said in an Instagram post.
“People of color are being failed by the system. The white system. Like a broken pipe flooding the apartment of the people living downstairs. This faulty system is making their life a misery, but it’s not their job to fix it. They can’t — no one will let them in the apartment upstairs.”
“This is a white problem. And if white people don’t fix it, someone will have to come upstairs and kick the door in.”
The Instagram post shows a portion of the artwork, a picture of a faceless black man in a frame, along with flowers and candles, as if in tribute. In the second photo, the full painting can be seen, showing that the memorial candle is lighting the corner of a U.S. flag on fire.
The posting came the same day tens of thousands of protesters gathered in Washington, D.C., in support of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died while in police custody in Minneapolis May 25 after an officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes. Floyd’s death prompted protests — some of which included violent clashes with police and looting — in dozens of U.S. cities.
Nearly 2 million people had liked the Instagram post as of Saturday evening, with most of the comments supportive. But some took issue with Banksy’s sentiment.
“I am tired of feeling like I should apologize for being white,” wrote one person. “I had no control what color I was born any more than anyone else did. You are judging me for my color. You have no idea what’s in a person’s heart based on their skin color or appearance and that is what we need to remember. We all need a reminder of the people that get left behind every day. We can all do better. Blanket shaming a group of people doesn’t help anyone, especially the ones in need.”

In May, Banksy made headlines again during the COVID-19 pandemic when a new work honoring health workers was unveiled at a British hospital.
The framed picture, titled “Game Changer,” shows a young boy sitting on the floor, with a basket of superheroes dolls, including Batman and Spiderman. But the boy is playing with a nurse superhero toy, complete with a cape and a face mask and wearing an apron featuring a red cross — the only color in the black-and-white work.
The artist left a note for hospital workers, saying: “Thanks for all you’re doing. I hope this brightens the place up a bit, even if [it’s] only black and white.”

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