Last Update 13:33
Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Messages in serenity: Collectors share 'The Art of Banksy' at Berlin gallery

An exhibition of works by one of the world's most famous street artists continues in Berlin until January 2019

Amina Gabr, Saturday 25 Aug 2018
Banksy
(Photo: Amina Gabr)
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"Art is not like other cultures because its success is not made by its audience... The art we look at is made only by a select few. When you go to an art gallery, you are simply a tourist looking at a trophy cabinet of a few millionaires." So reads the description under one of the 2007 works by the world-renowned street artist, Banksy.  

The Bikini gallery in Berlin is not crowded as I entered the space in the middle of the week.

The calm atmosphere of the rooms allows us to contemplate a large selection of art by Banksy, and the serenity somehow contradicts the strong meanings where the artist points to injustice, wars, human sins, challenges or even ridiculizes authority, while creating poignant contrasts to awaken the viewer.

Titled simply 'The Art of Banksy', the gallery gives an opportunity to indulge into the art, themes and ideas of this highly acclaimed artist from Bristol -- probably all that we know about Banksy's identity -- for almost one year, since the exhibition opened on 16 February 2018 and will continue until 15 January 2019.

Many of us are well acquainted with Banksy's art, we know his famed graffiti art such as Girl With Balloon, or equally resounding work portraying a child hugging the bomb, titled Bomb Hugger.

We remember his Cardinal Sin, a sculpture of a priest with pixelated or "vandalized" face, or a touching trompe-l’oeil painting, a break in the wall of a security fence in the West Bank in Palestine, among hundreds of other works.

'The Art of Banksy' brings together murals, drawings with spray paint, screenprints on paper, sculptures, all of which are now in the possession of private art collectors from around the world, in addition to a video about the artist.

Walking through the gallery's few rooms, the visitors have a chance to revisit a number of well-known works as well as a few which have not attracted the limelight before.

Here we find stenciled black rat holding onto a yellow, paint bucket, realizing time and again, that rats, big and small, are among Banksy's favorite subjects today covering the walls of edifices around the world.  

He challenges the icons such as Mother Theresa with another work portraying her innocence but with the words: "I learned a valuable lesson from this woman: moisturize every day" written over it.

A little bit further, one of his ballerinas wearing an oxygen mask -- yet another Banksy's favorite motif -- stands protected by the exhibition's glass cover.

There is also the anti-war mural of the CND soldiers at the backdrop of a large red peace sign, painting of Bird and Grenade (2007) and one of his older works Rude Copper (2002), among other works.

As the gallery's promotional material describes, visiting The Art of Banksy is "an extraordinary visual experience" in which we touch on the art of this 'invisible man' and on the many troublesome issues reigning over the world.

Banksy
(Photo: Amina Gabr)

Banksy
(Photo: Kamila Metwaly)

Banksy
(Photo: Amina Gabr)

Banksy
(Photo: Kamila Metwaly)

Banksy
(Photo: Amina Gabr)

Banksy
(Photo: Kamila Metwaly)

Banksy
(Photo: Amina Gabr)

Banksy
(Photo: Kamila Metwaly)

Banksy
(Photo: Kamila Metwaly)

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