Flyers are a bit old school but, when traveling, they’re still a great way to learn about cool stuff going on in a city. So, when I saw a row of flyers with a Banksy print stream by the window of the metro here in Istanbul, I immediately went online to learn what was going on. It turns out that, the world premiere of “The Art of Banksy,” the largest Banksy exhibition ever assembled, was about to open its doors just a few minutes walk from our hostel.
Banksy, as you probably know, is awesome. For a long time, I used to twist my lips at political art. I had seen a lot of it, and it all seemed too heavy-handed or too dependent on convoluted symbols. Banksy, however, changed all that.
Banksy’s themes are grand, mostly war and commercialism in this exhibit. But his statements are clean and simple.
He mixes the religious and commercial in a way that forces you to think about the ways the two are changing to resemble one another:
He juxtaposes violence and oppression with the playful and innocent and the absurdity exposes just how far from innocent systems of power usually are:
Two pieces seem to suggest a vision of triumph or rebirth:
And just in case you have doubts about his back-to-basics talents with oil and canvas there are these museum style landscapes with a little modern Banksy twist:
I’ve seen a lot of art, especially on this trip, but no other exhibit has been at all like this. Every single work offers something to think about. The exhibit forced me to see more clearly. It brought me more in touch with the modern world.
There are over 100 other works not pictured here in the exhibit. The layout of the exhibit is also unique and adds to the experience. Here’s a final piece for lagniappe that didn’t fit nicely into the themes above, but Elizabeth says it’s her favorite:
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