Banksy Pops Up in Paris With Powerful New Political Murals

The anonymous street artist has taken his message on the migration and refugee crisis to Paris, with several graffiti works discovered in recent days.

Banksy Pops Up in Paris With Powerful New Political Murals

Photo by William Perugini/Shutterstock

Banksy has taken his message on refugee migration to the streets of Paris. Over recent days, several works attributed to the British street artist have appeared throughout the French capital, seemingly coinciding with Paris Fashion Week.

The first of the new Banksy pieces was spotted on World Refugee Day on June 20. The work depicts a child spray-painting over a swastika and was discovered near the Porte de la Chapelle metro station, where the city’s refugee reception center, “La Bulle,” housed between 2,000 and 3,000 refugees until it was closed by French president Emmanuel Macron last year.

Another new work draws inspiration from the famed neoclassical painting Napoleon Crossing the Alps by artist Jacques-Louis David. The slight changes to the iconic image displayed in the graffiti pop-up are notable: Some have speculated that the red cape covering the rider’s face suggests that France’s leadership is “blind” or could perhaps refer to the country’s burqa ban, which was introduced by the French government in 2010 and prohibited the covering of one’s face in public, including with religious garments worn by some Muslim women.

An image of a woman veiled in mourning, meanwhile, appeared next to Paris’s Bataclan concert hall. It’s situated next to an emergency exit from which hundreds fled during the 2015 terror attacks. The stenciled mural is believed to be an homage to the victims.

Elsewhere in Paris’s city center, a mural shows a well-dressed man concealing a saw behind his back while dangling a bone above the nose of a hungry three-legged dog. Other artworks discovered around the city feature Banksy’s signature stenciled rats.

The politically charged graffiti artworks mark the first time the subversive street artist has taken his satirical social commentary to Paris. But it’s not the first time Banksy has taken on issues related to refugees and immigration in France.

In 2015, the artist brought a poignant stenciled mural depicting wreck survivors on a raft to Calais, the notorious “Jungle” refugee camp in northern France that gained global attention at the peak of the European migrant crisis in 2015.

On Tuesday, Banksy’s publicist confirmed the murals in Paris are indeed works from the British artist. Not long after, Banksy posted a photo to Instagram of a rat with a caption that reads, “Fifty years since the uprising in Paris 1968. The birthplace of modern stencil art.”

This article originally appeared online on June 25, 2018; it was updated on June 26, 2018, to include current information.

>>Next: 10 Border Walls That Artists Have Turned Into Powerful Protests

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