When we were in Venice last week, my husband and I both stopped in our tracks when we were crossing over one of the city’s numerous bridges. “Is that a Banksy?” we both asked at the same time. Was Banksy in Venice?
The mural, which can be found at the bridge leading to Campo San Pantalon in Dorsoduro, seems to feature a migrant child holding a flare high in the air. Searching for help, with a hot pink trail illuminating the otherwise simple black and white portrait.
Our trip to Venice coincided with the opening of the Venice Biennale, the most prestigious contemporary art event in the world. As we toured different palaces and pavilions, we saw plenty of new installations incorporated into the many corners of the city. But there is very little street art in Venice overall, so the mural of the child stayed with us.
Now Banksy has all but confirmed that he (or she) was working in Venice, releasing an incredible video of the artist being kicked out of St. Mark’s Square for trying to illegally sell their artwork.
The anonymous artist keeps their face hidden as the video shows people stopping to look at the unique stand of pieced together paintings. Ultimately, we see two police officers from the back, explaining that the artist either needs to have a permit to sell art or should keep moving.
One woman says in Italian “It is truly beautiful. More beautiful even than what I saw at the Biennale.”
The artwork Banksy displays is also a commentary on that state of the city, which is grappling with such an influx of tourism that it is planning to institute a fee to control the crowds and earn much-needed revenue to maintain the changing city.
Thanks to Girl in Florence for first sharing this video! So excited to know that the mural we saw really was done by Banksy during their time in Venice.
I also wonder if Banksy will be officially invited to the Biennale in the next two years thanks to this socio-political commentary on the state of art in a city like Venice.