The great graffiti artist comes to Auckland next year

The Art of Banksy
Aotea Centre, Auckland
January 6 – February 5

The international The Art of Banksy exhibition, which has been displayed around the world in cities such as Melbourne, Amsterdam, Istanbul, Tel Aviv is coming to New Zealand this summer.

This extraordinary collection of 80 original pieces by one of the most intriguing and talked-about artists in the past couple of decades has been curated by the artist's former manager Steve Lazarides and is the largest collection of Banksy's works, including the famous paintings Girl and Balloon, and Laugh Now – a piece that depicts a monkey with a sign hanging from his neck with the words: "Laugh now, but one day we'll be in charge."

This exhibition of originals -- all privately owned by collectors – offers a rare perspective for New Zealanders on Banksy’s world.

Banksy, who refrains from revealing his identity and does not appear in public, is a painter, graffiti artist and social activist. He is considered one of the world's top political graffiti artists.

Banksy's satirical art and his subversive messages, which integrate cynical dark humour, are done using his unique stencil technique. His various works, which aside from paintings also include sculptures and special displays, have been displayed on city walls, bridges and streets throughout the world.  

Banksy has said that he decided to adopt the stencil technique while hiding from police under a garbage truck. 

“When I was 18 I spent one night trying to paint “Late Again” in big silver bubble letters on the side of a passenger train. British transport police showed up and I got ripped to shreds running away through a thorny bush. The rest of my mates made it to the car and disappeared, so I spent over an hour hiding under a dumper truck with engine oil leaking all over me. As I lay there listening to the cops on the tracks I realised I had to cut my painting time in half or give up altogether. I was staring straight up at the stencilled plate on the bottom of a fuel tank when I realised I could just copy that style and make each letter three feet high”

Working with stencils is considered fast, and a large number of his works in the streets of Bristol quickly made him into part of the underground art movement, that developed in the area at the end of the 1980s.

Over the years, Banksy has carried out a considerable number of pranks against the art establishment, including secretly hanging his works inside various museums around the world, such as the Museum of Modern Art, the Tate Britain museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum, and the American Museum of Natural History.

More recently Banksy was involved in The Walled Off Hotel located near the controversial barrier wall separating Israel from the Palestinian Territories in Bethlehem. A gift shop there will sell his works for the first time in four years.  

Tickets on sale via Ticketmaster.

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