Banksy Returns With Powerful New Work in Ukraine


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As a street artist who is no stranger to taking a stand on politics, Banksy has now used his art to weigh in on the war in Ukraine. There had been rumblings that the British street artist was in Ukraine, as four stencils popped up in and around Kyiv. Now that he's posted one of the pieces on Instagram, his presence can be confirmed. The black-and-white stencil, painted on a bombed-out building, shows a gymnast doing a handstand on a piece of debris.

Banksy captioned the photo “Borodyanka, Ukraine.” Borodyanka, located about 30 miles northwest of Kyiv, was heavily bombarded by Russian troops in the early days of the war. Banksy's images show a pulled-back view of the piece to give a sense of the true wreckage it's surrounded by.

In addition to the gymnast mural, there are several other pieces believed to be by Banksy in Ukraine. One, also located in Borodyanka, shows a judo match between a young boy and a man who resembles Putin. In the piece, the young boy is flipping the man on his back. It should be noted that Putin is a fan of martial arts and holds a black belt in judo.


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Another piece, located in Irpin, shows a female rhythmic gymnast wearing a neck brace. She's waving a ribbon above her head while she “balances” on a hole in the side of a building. A fourth stencil, painted on a concrete defensive block in Kyiv, shows two children using a metal tank trap as a seesaw.

While the three stencils not published on Banksy's Instagram can't be confirmed as his, there is a good chance that he spray painted more than one image while in the country, based on the style of the work. Banksy is known for using his artwork to promote messages in war-torn countries. In 2005, he became one of the first artists to paint on Israel's West Bank separation wall. His Flying Balloon Girl quickly became an international symbol of empathy and transcendence.

If you want to see more of Banksy's work in Ukraine, keep an eye on his Instagram to see if he'll claim any of the other stencils.

Banksy: Website | Instagram

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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