Xmas, a Bday & a Wall
But the idea of Santa’s Ghetto goes back to 2003 when Banksy
felt that “the spirit of Christmas was being lost. It was becoming increasingly uncommercialised and more and more to do with religion so we decided to open our own shop and sell pointless stuff you didn’t need.”
Banksy had been to the West Bank a number of time and he had already painted nine pieces on the separation wall back in 2005. This year he added six new paintings and the event coincided with the Santa’s Ghetto Christmas exhibit.
This online exhibition made just shy of one million dollars. “With the money we’re providing thirty university places for kids from the poor parts of town and the refugee camps… helping a grassroots organisation … the rest of the money has gone into a trust fund … ”
You can also see this video here
A local: “I think it is high time for artists like Banksy and other international artists to come here, because our institutions here are so absurd, so strange and so contradictory, that it is like heaven for a modern artist …”
With the concrete barrier around three sides of the town, “Bethlehem‘s key tourism industry has suffered a dramatic drop in recent years.” Through the website, Banksy said tourists need not fear visiting the West Bank. “It would do good if more people came to see the situation here for themselves … If it is safe enough for a bunch of sissy artists then it’s safe enough for anyone.”
“You wouldn’t worry about Christmas becoming too commercial in Bethlehem — they couldn’t afford it. There’s more festive lights in the window of your local Woolworths than you’ll find in this entire town” Banksy wrote in a message to British newspaper the Times.
Old man: You paint the wall, you make it look beautiful.
Old man: We don’t want it to be beautiful, we hate this wall, go home.
Hanging a picture of a cave man pushing a shopping cart in the British Museum, unnoticed for up to 3 days. This “primitive” portrait became a part of the British Museum’s permanent collection.
Spanish artist Sam3‘s graffiti work
Participating artists: Banksy, Swoon, Ron English, Blu from Italy, Sam3 from Spain, the long-standing Banksy collaborator Paul Insect, Gee Vaucher, Aiko, Brooklyn-based Bast, Lucy Mac, Kelsey Brooks, Anthony Micallef, portraitist Jonathan Yeo, Conor Harrington, Eric the dog, 3d, Suleiman Mansour among others.
Links relevant to the Art:
Who is Bansky? A must see video
Banksy on Artofthestate
Kilroy Banksy was here, The New Yorker
Wooster collectif a street art website
List of street artists
Kolahstudio interviews Blu
Links relevant to the Wall:
The story of the wall: An animated presentation by Gush Shalom
The wall on Google Earth
The barrier wall map
Q&A: What is the West Bank barrier? BBC
Interactive wall graphic, the Guardian
Is it a Fence? Is it a Wall?