ARCHIVE 279 – SOMETHING IN BRISTOL OF WHICH I CAN TRUTHFULLY SAY I’M PROUD
March 8, 2017 13 Comments
I have absolutely no civic pride. I live in Bristol, its a place to live – and that’s it. It may have this, it may have that, and next year its going to be a Green Capital or something like that, but who really cares – frankly, who gives a damn???
But now, loving places is quite something else, and although I harbour no amour for Bristol, there are many places in this world that I do love – the Somerset Levels (obviously); St Ives with the sun shining and the tide in; rural Wiltshire; Dorset; that little settlement in Kenya’s Kaisut Desert where every day, decades ago, I watched vultures float above a small hill – the list is long, and the more I think about it the longer it gets.
But if I’m proud of anything in this city that I inhabit, it is surely the bizarre image above. Why? Well this is painting by the Bristol graffiti artist Banksy, who started off as a teenager creating street art here, and then went on to become world famous and wealthy as a practitioner in the same medium – despite no one (except his close friends, I presume) knowing who he actually is.
And, of course, in the beginning, he was just another kid with a spray can, “defacing his urban surroundings”, and The Establishment (which may include Bristol City Council …) loathed and despised him as such, but then his absolutely wonderful, inspired and inspirational work started bringing in mega bucks, and suddenly he was respectable and Bristol’s cultural icon and famed son (although still, no one knew who he actually was) – and I laughed, and am still laughing, at … the hoops The Establishment had to jump through.
And Bristol City Council actually managed to ask Bristolians if they wanted this mural, which is in a very prominent position on one of the city’s main streets, to remain – and they did – and every time I pass it, people are looking at and photographing it!
And – I must mention this because I regard it as Banksy’s greatest coup – in strict secrecy he mounted an exhibition at the city’s museum and art gallery in 2009, >>> which attracted more than 300,000 visitors – over 4,000 people per day, the biggest thing the museum’s ever seen, the huge queues snaking away from its doors around Bristol’s streets. Way to go, man, oh way to go!
So what are we looking at? A woman in underwear is trying to mollify her husband who is angrily looking out of the window for her lover who, naked but (so far) unseen, is hanging on to the window by one hand. Sometime after this mural appeared, it was the victim of a blue paintball attack. The blue paint has been cleaned off the building’s walls to leave pale patches – but of course it can’t be cleaned off the mural itself, where it remains.
Canon G11 PowerShot at 56mm (equivalent); 800 ISO.
UPDATE: this artwork is still up there on the wall, still with its blue paintball marks – and still with people congregating in front of it, looking and photographing – it is one of Bristol’s important sights, which is exactly what it should be.