Banksy has revealed a new Christmas-themed mural combining festive fun with the ever-present issue of homelessness.
The mysterious artist shared his new artwork on Instagram today, December 9, with a video featuring a homeless man.
The mural is painted on a brick wall on Vyse Street in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter, and shows two black and white reindeer taking off into the sky, surrounding by twinkling stars. However, instead of pulling a present-filled sleigh, their reigns lead towards a bench positioned by the wall.
Check out the video here:
The video shows a homeless man setting up his bed for the night, propping up his belongings up on one end of the bench before leaning back and putting his feet up.
The scene then zooms out, however, and it becomes apparent the homeless man is meant to be depicting Father Christmas in his magical sleigh, with his belongings representing the bag of presents and the bench playing the part of the sleigh.
Alongside the video, Banksy wrote:
God bless Birmingham. In the 20 minutes we filmed Ryan on this bench passers-by gave him a hot drink, two chocolate bars and a lighter – without him ever asking for anything.
Banksy often highlights social issues through his work and this piece is no different. Though the mural is up to interpretation, it seemingly emphasises the fact that while most people are out Christmas shopping, decorating warm, cosy homes and celebrating with family, there are thousands of people left out in the cold with nowhere to call home at Christmas.
Throughout the video, a rendition of Johnny Mathis’s song I’ll Be Home For Christmas plays, creating further contrast to the theme of homelessness.
Just took my girls to see the #Banksy in the Jewellery Quarter. Got there just before the barriers went up. Weird how I was reporting how a school is helping the homeless folk this morning. #Birmingham #WestMidlands pic.twitter.com/eJi7H4rBFo
— Lady Lisa (@lisalaurasmith) December 9, 2019
News of Banksy’s new mural spread like wildfire and the artist quickly became a trending topic on Twitter after sharing his latest piece. His post racked up more than one million likes in three hours and the painting has been widely praised, with social media users describing the artist as a ‘genius’.
One person wrote:
Thank you #banksy for giving something so magical to those that are helpless … keep on giving everyone.
Bravo #Banksy bravo. Spare a thought for our homeless as temperatures drop this Xmas time. A smile, a cup of tea, simple things..
Thank you #banksy for giving something so magical to those that are helpless … keep on giving everyone. #homelessness #love #giving #birmingham pic.twitter.com/6NMJhsrcVL
— Susan Mulvey (Mrs C) (@SusieTime) December 9, 2019
Bravo #Banksy bravo Spare a thought for our homeless as temperatures drop this Xmas time. A smile, a cup of tea, simple things.. @Shelter pic.twitter.com/Yxq086AMXK
— Sam Hall (@Goldierocks) December 9, 2019
The artwork is a necessary reminder of the issue of homelessness at this time of year, when it’s so easy to get caught up in the festivities and forget there are still people in need of help.
If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via email@example.com