We still may not know the identity of British street artist Banksy, but his murals covering the walls of houses, buildings, and public spaces around the world are far from unknown. Named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine in 2010, Banksy has only grown in popularity since then with some of his pieces being displayed at prestigious museums and events, such as Miami’s Art Basel, and auctioned off for millions of dirhams. This weekend, art enthusiasts from the region can grab a glimpse of the anonymous graffiti artist’s work in the Middle East for the first time.
Called “The Art of Banksy ‘Without Limits'”, the traveling exhibition has already made stops in European capitals Amsterdam, Berlin, and Paris, before heading to Riyadh on February 21 to showcase 70 creations from various private collections. Whether it’s a photograph or a multi-media print, the display is likely to call attention to a vast range of social and political themes the artist cum activist is known for commenting on with his satirical art, from the refugee crisis to the Palestinian conflict. A documentary about Banksy’s life will also be shown at the Saudi Arabian exhibition in celebration of his artwork and messages the organizers hope to spread across the world, explains the event website.
The ticketed event has yet to be authorized by the artist himself and is unlikely to be considering his belief that his art should be enjoyed at no cost. Case in point: The unexpected live destruction of his infamous “Girl with Balloon” during a Sotheby’s auction via a secret shredder Banksy installed within the painting’s frame. More recently, the UK-based creative resurfaced after a few months of silence on Valentine’s Day with a 3D mural depicting a young girl firing a slingshot of red flowers on the side of a house in Bristol, reminiscent of the same iconic work he shredded a few years ago.