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Keeping Banksy Hidden

This week British-born street artist, Banksy is filling the headlines. But not for the right reasons. It seems that the world’s most famous and elusive graffiti artist, has flown a bit close to the wire, and rumour has it he’s been caught. On camera.

The world is alight with the possibility of unmasking the man behind such iconic works as these:

https://i2.wp.com/www.xouva.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/02-banksy-pulp-fiction.jpg

Source: Banksy

https://i0.wp.com/www.globalmediaserver.com/images/brafton/large/witness+the+works+of+banksy+fafi+and+above+in+melbourne+s+street+art_3060_800726810_0_0_7005674_300.jpg

Source: Banksy

https://i2.wp.com/www.zinkmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/banksynycCE-300x200.jpg

Source: Banksy

https://fitzgeraldcom.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/1109d-06-apeman-banksy-wallpaper.jpg

Source: Banksy

https://i1.wp.com/www.theartkey.com/photos/user_photo/2/6/BANKSY-beggar-m.jpg

Source: Banksy

Banksy, originally from Bristol, England, (where some of his most famous works of art are preserved by the council) is renowned around the world for this unique and satirical style of pop-up street art. He parodies anything from popular culture to profound philosophy, challenging our ideas about graffiti, art and vandalism – transforming some of the world’s walls with only his spray can, some stencils and a political purpose. So unique and edified is his work that council’s the wold over have been forced, by popular demand, to preserve his work, preserving the ‘vandalism’ they are trying to stamp out.

https://i1.wp.com/www.streetartutopia.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/2508695615_7361d11105_o.jpg

Source: Banksy

So why are we so keen to unmask the man behind the art? What is it about him that makes us go all Miss Marple? Surely, if we’re honest, we like that there’s a secret political graffiti artist out there tagging our walls, subverting the law, the councils and the politicians. Surely if we’re fans of his, then we’re on his side? After all, what he does is illegal and if he gets caught, well, who knows, he’ll probably get in trouble and have to pay a fine or something. But that’s only half the point. If Banksy becomes recognisable then it’s all over: the legacy, the mystery, the ‘is it or isn’t it’ when you see a new stencil on the underground or in a laneway. There’s no stunt to him selling originals on a New York street for $50. The whole rare, subversive, underground idea of Banksy disappears with his photograph. And instead of being a legend he becomes a celebrity. And we don’t want this, and I can’t imagine he wants this either.

The world is better off if there are some things we just don’t know. In our present day and age when all the information that ever existed is a swipe and a click away, right there in our hands, at every waking moment, this is a hard grasp for many of us. But we should understand that this thirst for knowledge will ultimately disappoint us. After all, Banksy’s just a bloke – he probably enjoys a beer and football like other blokes. Or he may like doing the Sudoku in the T2, eat Bombay mix from the counter of his local Balti house, or sing in the shower. But who cares? We don’t need to know. There’s not enough anonymity in the world and what little there is for those who want it, deserve to keep it.

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