FACES OF ART: “Laugh now but one day we’ll be in charge”. Modern social problems in Banksy’s art

Barbara Kończak 1
1 -
2013; 14 (1):
ICID: 1094035
Article type: Original article
IC™ Value: 3.00
Abstract provided by Publisher
Art has always been a very important sphere of humanity, not only for individuals, but for society as a whole. As early as ancient times, mankind produced pictures which mirrored the reality of everyday life, in the shape of cave wall paintings. Through his art, a contemporary artist attempts to not only bear witness to reality, but also to influence and change this reality in order to modify and/or repair it.
In its own way, artistic creation affects the audience as it speaks through visual experience. Art can be charged with meaning, and can inspire the audience to ponder and reflect upon the issues that it touches upon. Socially engaged art draws attention to key aspects of human life while satisfying our cultural, aesthetic and philosophical needs. Art constitutes a significant domain of human life. Some individuals fulfill their social moral, or mental functions through art, and at the same time aspire to be a kind of signpost – not only pointing towards problematic issues, but also providing suggestions to solve them. The phenomenon of graffiti, regarded by some as a form of vandalism, and by others as a contemporary form of artistic activity, has become a way of presenting the negative aspects of the contemporary world. On the one hand, it is therefore an attempt to protest. On the other hand, it is inextricably linked to social life. The British graffiti artist, who disguises himself using the nickname Banksy, utilizes public space to make us stop and think about existing social problems, such as excessive consumption, poverty or armed conflicts, which carry a lot of pejorative implications.
Through his work he seems to show that consumerism in the modern era has replaced religion and ideology. A man lost in the world of buying and selling has started to associate simply consuming goods with happiness, contentment, and a high social position. This phenomenon has led to the slow disappearance of true bonds and relationships. It is hard to determine whether Banksy is a modern guerilla fighter, fighting against injustice and inequality, or an intelligent fraudster, skillfully using his rapidly acquired fame. Undoubtedly, however, the work of this mysterious Briton is extremely important from a social point of view because he manages, through simple means, to expose existing human problems. Banksy once said, “People either love me or hate, or simply they do not care.” It is impossible to agree with this last statement. Whatever your opinion about graffiti is, it is unthinkable to pass by his work without noticing it and reacting to it. For Banksy, annoying and disturbing images are an invitation to contemplate our world and for that he deserves recognition.
DOI: 10.5604/20842937.1094035

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