Undoubtedly the most well-known street artist, Banksy is surrounded by mystery and speculation. He specializes in provocative anti-authoritarian art. His distinctive black and white stenciled art pieces have appeared across the world. Most recently in Ukraine, he operates under the guise of night, posting his artwork on his Instagram page.
So far, Banksy has produced 7 murals across war-torn sites in Ukraine. One such mural was found in Kyiv, the country’s capital and one of the areas most wrecked by Russian attacks. Another depicts a small boy in a Judo match throwing a Putin-seeming figure to the ground. Balancing upon a pile of rubble, a wall displays a gymnast performing a handstand. The artist’s most recent artwork pictures a robed woman equipped with a gas mask and fire extinguisher looking towards a window framed with soot. The post was tagged in Borodyanka, Ukraine, one of Ukraine’s northern cities lost early in the war. Hundreds of civilians went unaccounted for after the bombings and raids resulting from the invasion. The area has recently been won back by Ukraine, yet the debris-strewn streets and buildings remain unhospitable. Each one of Banksy’s pieces is surrounded by destruction and ruin.
Banksy and his art work as a symbol of solidarity and hope in the face of Russia’s aggression. His art contrasts everyday citizens, dawned with robes and gymnast’s leotards, against the crumbling environment. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights records 6,702 civilian casualties since the 24th of February.