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New Banksy exhibition arrives in Barcelona exploring ‘the art of protest’

Over 70 original works from the mysterious artist in a variety of formats go on display in the Catalan capital’s Design Museum

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12 November 2021 11:50 AM

by

Cillian Shields | Barcelona

At Barcelona’s Design Museum, a new “100% unauthorizied” exhibition on elusive British street artist Banksy has opened up. 

The exhibit, titled ‘Banksy. The Art of Protest’, displays over 70 original works in a variety of formats, including an immersive audiovisual space, photographs, engravings, and even a recreation of the artist’s studio.

Over one million people worldwide have already enjoyed the show as it has made its way across the world before finally arriving in Barcelona. 

The mysterious English street artist is one of the most well-known and revered creative forces of the 21st century. His identity is unknown, adding greatly to his worldwide mystique, and his artworks are never announced, but rather they usually just appear overnight in public spaces.

Banksy’s works often carry the theme of protest and are characterized by the artist’s wit and use of irony and subversion to challenge authority and power structures. 

This new exhibition explores themes like war, poverty, politics, consumerism, the climate crisis, and much more to make his audience reflect on the world in which we all live.

The show is enhanced for visitors by an audio guide available on smartphones in English, Catalan, and Spanish, shedding further light on the elusive artist and his creations. 

On Friday morning, the exhibit was opened with a press conference involving the exhibition curator, Alexander Nachkebiya, Mireia Escobar, director of the Design Museum, Rafael Giménez, director of one of the organizing bodies Sold Out, and Barcelona city councillor Jaume Collboni. 

There, the mysterious artist was described as “transversal,” “enigmatic,” and “controversial.”

Banksy is a “new model of artist,” according to curator Nachkebiya. “In the modern times, it’s not enough to just be a good artist, you have to present yourself and speak to the heart, soul, and minds of people.” 

The curator also highlighted Banksy’s success in moving from the streets to galleries, and posed that the elusive artist’s next challenge would be to move to museums. 

Jaume Collboni drew comparisons between Banksy’s work, focussing on protest, and the city of Barcelona, which has a long tradition of rising up against authority. 

He celebrated that this new exhibition could easily take pride of place in London’s Tate Modern museum or New York’s Museum of Modern Art, two of the world’s most revered spaces for contemporary art.

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  • A visitor at the exhibition ‘Banksy. The Art of Protest’ takes a photograph of one of the pieces on display (by Cillian Shields)

  • A visitor at the exhibition ‘Banksy. The Art of Protest’ takes a photograph of one of the pieces on display (by Cillian Shields)

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