Confirmed his seven works in Ukraine.
On Friday, Nov. 11, 2022, a stencil appeared about 35 miles northwest of Kiev with a little girl gymnast balancing in the rubble of a building in Borodyanka, one of the areas hardest hit by Russian bombs.
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The work was immediately attributed to the anonymous Bristol Street Artist, although rumors chased each other until its confirmation, which came a few days later to The Art Newspaper head as soon as other works appeared in the capital and other cities in the region. Seven in all.
Banksy, gymnast at Borodianka. The city has been the first site in Ukraine where Banksy confirmed new street art, which was hit particularly hard by Russian airstrikes in the first few weeks of the conflict. Credit: Getty Images.
Another work appeared in Kiev, depicting a child wearing a black-belt martial arts uniform and knocking out an adult man; many have linked in the man, the image of Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose black belt was revoked from him earlier this year by the World Taekwondo League, a meaning omitted by Banksy himself but not missed by Ukrainians.
A mural shows a man being flipped during a martial arts match with a young boy. Credit: Getty Images
Another mural shows two children playing with a metal trap using it as a swing, a woman in curlers and gas mask holding a fire extinguisher.
Why Banksy specifically chose Borodianka and not Kiev to make the first mural is easy to say: the city was targeted by Russian air armies, which bombed it continuously until April 1, when residents returned to occupy their homes.
Credit: Ed Ram/Getty Images
Before the war, the town northwest of Kiev was home to 13,000 people: the displaced when they returned, they found a ghostly place, almost razed to the ground, houses and stores looted, rubble everywhere.
Since then, the city has been the focus of everyone’s efforts to rebuild, although there is still much work to be done.
Banksy’s rhythmic gymnast on the wall of a residental building in Irpin, Ukraine, wears a neck brace. Credit: Getty Images.
After Banksy’s confirmation, many Ukrainians and supporters of the country thanked the artist with comments and posts on social media:
“This is a historic moment for Ukraine: people like Banksy and other famous figures are coming here and showing the world what Russia has done to us.”
A Kiev resident commented to Al Jazeera English in a video posted on Twitter on Sunday.
Credit: Getty Images
Through his guerrilla art, Bansky has once again struck a chord, once again casting the spotlight on the Ukrainian issue, which, unfortunately, has lost that hype mixed with public outrage over time.