Banksy’s New Olympic Street Art in London
There are intense sanctions protecting the Olympic brand this year, with authorities clamping down on the unauthorized use of that iconic five-ring symbol. Although the strict rules have kept high street retailers away from profiting off of the city’s big event, they’re not stopping rebellious street artist Banksy from making an Olympic-sized statement.
In an ironic twist reported by the Atlantic Wire‘s Adam Martin, the London police are left with a rather substantial (and costly) dilemma. You see, they already threatened to remove any public graffiti that they find leading up to the opening ceremony on July 27th. With a large-scale Banksy recently offered by a New York gallery for $250,000, painting over these satirical figures seems almost sacrilegious.
Banksy’s latest additions to London’s streets are simple, yet profound statements about his city’s recent transformation. While the government takes austerity measures, millions in taxes have gone to funding the Summer Olympics. Between security problems, taxi cab riots, and an influx of tourists, the average London resident is none-too-pleased with this huge commercial interruption.
In true form, Banky’s puts an image to the widespread angst and injustices sweeping London during this controversial time. He crafts the athletes as the culprits, participating in, yet institutionalized by, the games that promise them fame and fortune. Banksy’s pole-vaulter attempts to escape his fate, while a javelin thrower is about to hurl a missile. These clever images give us insight into the prevalent attitude of London residents, as well as the darker side of the big-business Olympics.
As London tightens its security this week, squelching those who dare to use its name in vain, we hope Banksy is only encouraged further. There are a lot of events, and we want to see more athletes — not in the newly built Olympic stadium but on the historic streets and crumbling walls that make up the heart of London.