Enigmatic British artist Banksy has taken to the London Underground to create a satirical piece about Covid-19.
Commuters on London’s Circle Line were shocked on Tuesday to see a man clad in Covid clean-up gear graffitiing all over one of the carriage interiors. Little did they know they had borne witness (hopefully at a two-meter distance) to Britain’s vigilante street artist Banksy at work.
Once again, Banksy has chosen to explore the subject of Covid and its impact on society using his mischievous rat stencils. Having originally appeared in his ‘Working from Home’ piece last April, he decided to set his subjects loose on the underground equipped with a load of neon green anti-bac gel and surgical face masks.
The message was clear for all to see. One rat was sneezing green liquid, another was floating around using a mask as a parachute, and a third had covered the whole back wall with ‘Banksy’ graffiti in hand sanitiser. Having posted an accompanying video on Instagram captioned with ‘If you don’t mask – you don’t get’, it’s safe to presume that, for once, Banksy is echoing the sentiments of policy makers regarding transport safety measures post lockdown.
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The latest from No. 10 is that shoppers nationwide must wear face coverings by the 24th July with masks becoming mandatory to ride public transport today (15th). Speaking from experience, there is palpable room for improvement on both fronts at present and this firmer stance is long overdue. The general consensus online is that Banksy’s work is likely alluding to previously loose regulations while encouraging people to act more responsibly going forward.
If you were wanting to go see the cheeky rodents in the flesh, then we’ve some bad news. Transport for London erased Banksy’s work almost as soon as they caught wind on social media – the art obviously breaching their strict anti-graffiti guidelines. However, as is custom with all his pieces today, it continues to live in video-form on Banksy’s social media accounts with the short video titled ‘London Underground – undergoes deep clean’.
"I get lockdown, but I get up again."
Banksy created a Chumbawamba-themed #COVID19 display in the London underground. The title is an apparent reference to people fighting against mask policies: "If you don't mask – you don't get.”
(📷: Banksy) pic.twitter.com/6auFhUibIA
— AJ+ (@ajplus) July 14, 2020
A spokesperson for TFL stated: ‘We appreciate the sentiment of encouraging people to wear face coverings, which the vast majority of customers on our transport network are doing. In this particular case, the work was removed some days ago due to our strict anti-graffiti policy. We’d like to offer Banksy the chance to do a new version of his message for our customers in a suitable location.’
I’m guessing Banksy probably won’t be taking them up on that offer.