He is the most famous unknown artist in the world; the anonymous graffiti ninja who goes by the moniker, Banksy. Regarded as a rebel, urban hero, vandal, crusader, he is one of the most influential artists of modern times. A rare exhibition of his work is currently being toured around the world and has just opened in Sydney. The exhibition has been curated by former manager, Steve Lazarides, and is made up of canvases, screenprints, and sculptures from his own and other private collections. It is the largest collection of Banksy’s works ever toured and is notably unsanctioned by the artist. When Lazarides was asked whether this conflicts with Banksy’s ideals, he says:
“No, he’s been doing it for years […] these guys – how are they supposed to live? How are they going to make money?”
Lazarides believes that Banksy’s art deserves to be seen, and mainstream art galleries have so far refused to display the work. He also says there’s a bit of quid pro quo in allowing audiences access to the art.
“The general public made this artist, the general public has the right to see his work,” he explains.
On display will be some of Banksy’s most iconic pieces including Girl With Red Balloon, Flower Thrower and Rude Copper, as well as photographs and videos that provide a unique behind-the-scenes glimpse into the artist at work.
“He’s one of the first artists really to speak to the people,” says Lazarides. “He was putting artwork out at a highly politicised time. He was putting a message out that was very simplistic, it was funny, and the general public adopted him in a way artists have never been adopted. He will go down as the most popular artist in history by a country mile.”
Until Oct 27. Entertainment Quarter, Errol Flynn Blvd, Moore Park. $32-$45+b.f. Tickets & Info: www.theartofbanksyau.com.au
By Rita Bratovich