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Banksy Exhibition in Toronto: Art Exploration Report (Assessment)

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Updated: May 3rd, 2021

Thesis Paragraph and Creative Medium

The art of Banksy Exhibition in Toronto is the topic for the research that was selected in terms of a larger field of graffiti. Since the works of Banksy are pertinent to the modern world, it is essential to pay attention to their essence and messages. While more than 80 exhibits will be presented on the mentioned exhibition, it is possible to distinguish between several key themes that integrate them (“Banksy,” n.d.). Even though some people believe that Banksy exhibits are vandalism as they are drawn on streets, others consider that it is art due to the focus on relevant social, political, and economic problems.

For the proposed research, it is expected to use such a creative medium as an illustrative essay. Many works of Banksy can be found online and integrated into the essay to allow readers to understand them better. The identified medium will also provide the opportunity to interpret these exhibits and relate them to the social context. The above medium relates to the object of the research since it is based on the presentation of illustrations. The purpose of the project is to critically review Banksy’s exhibition in Toronto, reveal the artist’s messages, specify the public attitudes, and also provide the researcher’s opinion on the mentioned pieces of art.


Banksy is the pseudonym of a scandalous English underground graffiti artist and political activist whose identity is not established. According to the most common versions, his real name is Robert or Robin Banks (Ellsworth-Jones, 2013). Due to the artist’s talent and the sharp social themes of his drawings, Banksy quickly gained popularity – first in England in the 1990s and then all over the world (Ellsworth-Jones, 2013).

The anonymity of this artist is preserved largely due to the efforts of friends and supporters who also remain non-identified. Currently, there are several scholarly works, websites, and discussions considering the phenomenon of Banksy’s art, and the popularity of his graffiti continues to grow rapidly. The purpose of this artist is to reflect the key political problems through provocation in his graffiti that can be found in different places.

As it was mentioned earlier, Banksy exhibits are graffiti painted on the streets. Namely, there are pictures performed with a stencil. It can be innocent children’s horses or cats, some political images like a revolver or a red star, as well as short phrases such as “no future” (“Banksy,” n.d.). Often, there is a shortened name of the artist. Such graffiti, as a rule, are not very large, but some of them require a fair virtuosity of execution.

Banksy changed people’s attitudes to street art. His ironic and witty works directed against capitalism, war, and moralization become the subject of attention from journalists, vandals, photographers, and art critics (“Banksy,” n.d.). The so-called “Banksy effect” expressed in an increased interest in street art amused the world art market. His graffiti-works performed on the edge of kitsch began to be sold at prestigious auctions for record amounts.

Four Areas to Research

Vandalism or art? The first area to be covered in the proposed research is whether Banksy exhibit represents art or acts as vandalism expression. On the one hand, the representative of the Keep Britain Tidy organization, Peter Gibson, claims that Banksy’s work is ordinary vandalism, while Diana Shakespeare belonging to the same organization concerns that such street art glorifies the essence of vandalism (“Banksy critics,” n.d.). On the other hand, this graffiti seem to be called to speak as the voice of those who cannot make claims, complain, or coherently formulate their needs. It speaks for people who want peace, social stability, and economic benefits (“Banksy exhibit,” 2018). It is important to study various sources to understand the attitudes of people to Banksy’s exhibition and the themes it uncovers.

The second area that is worth exploring refers to capitalism and its impact on the perception of the modern world. Various brands and companies as if dictate people how to live and what to purchase. Accordingly, Banksy’s graffiti reflect it. For example, one of them depicts a girl-led by Ronald McDonald and Mickey Mouse. Banksy created this work in 2004 as a response to consumerism in the modern world, the basis of which is a well-known photograph of the girl during the Napalm bombardment in Vietnam in the 1970s. Another work presents crucified Jesus Christ with gifts in his hands. Hansen and Danny (2015) state that the above graffiti seems to show that marketing strategies often make every effort to achieve their goal of selling even though it is immoral and unethical.

The theme of today’s politics is one more critical issue Banksy refers to. In 2015, the artist painted all the hotel apartments in Bethlehem without exception, the windows of which open onto the separation barrier built by the Israeli military. On it, one can see the drawing of Banksy made ten years ago – the dove of the world in a bulletproof vest. The International Court of Justice in 2004 ruled that the barrier was built by Israel in violation of the international law; however, the country’s officials claim that the barrier is necessary to protect against the attacks of Palestinians (Gough, 2016). Many other works need to be discussed in terms of political issues that occur in the modern world.

The impact of technology on people, namely, their relationships and attitudes towards each other may be identified as the fourth theme for the research. Although the rapid development of technology and innovation is expected to advance in various spheres, it also affects negatively. People tend to spend more time online while paying little attention to their families and friends. The ever-growing pace of life, especially in large cities, accelerates even more driven by the widespread use of smartphones and other gadgets.

The graffiti called Mobile Lovers is depicted on the doors of the men’s club in Bristol. Probably, the work reflects the contemporary social problem of personal relationships in social networks. One more graffiti located in the most unusual place, on a cliff face at the height of 40 meters in the Gorge Cheddar Gorge in Somerset, states: “This is not a place for shooting.”


. (n.d.). Web.

Banksy critics. (n.d.). Web.

Banksy exhibit. (2018). Web.

Ellsworth-Jones, W. (2013). . Smithsonian Online Magazine. Web.

Gough, P. (2016). Existencillism: Banksy and the stencil as radical graphic form. Drawing: Research, Theory, Practice, 1(1), 97-117.

Hansen, S., & Danny, F. (2015). ‘This is not a Banksy!’: Street art as aesthetic protest. Continuum, 29(6), 898-912.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Banksy Exhibition in Toronto: Art Exploration." May 3, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/banksy-exhibition-in-toronto-art-exploration/.


IvyPanda. (2021) 'Banksy Exhibition in Toronto: Art Exploration'. 3 May.

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