Thursday, August 6, 2015

New Orleans Banksy Image

Last night a friend took us out for her birthday.  I had not heard anything about the place where we went to eat.  It was a Colombian restaurant called Maïs Arepas, and it was delightful.  Great friends, tasty food, and enjoyable conversation.

One of the best parts of the evening, however, was the view right outside the window.  There was a bit of graffiti on the building right across the street.

Photo by Kathe Lawton

There is a story behind it.  Many of you will recognize the work as a piece done by the UK graffiti artist Banksy.  The backstory is that Banksy showed up in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and tagged some very poignant pieces across town.  Much of it was done on abandoned buildings, buildings that were impacted by the flooding in the city.  A painting of a girl with an umbrella with the rain coming from inside the umbrella (social statement about how protection should work); a painting of a kid plaing on a tire swing - and the tire is made of a lifesaving ring; a painting of a brass band.

Before Katrina, New Orleans had a local activist who considered his work to be to untag the city.  Nicknamed the Grey Ghost for his use of a grey paint that he used to cover the graffiti around the city, he would cover any graffiti - even attractive graffiti - with his grey paint.

You can see where this is going.

He covered up one of the Banksy pieces (check out the link to the article HERE).

Banksy graffiti on any building increases the value immeasurably - some as much as $125k.  So for the Grey Ghost to cover the tag was to destroy a work of incredible value. 

Banksy eventually came back to New Orleans, and did a few replacement pieces, where he poked fun at the 'battle' between the graffiti artists and the anti-graffiti crowd. 

The piece outside of the restaurant where we ate was one of those pieces.

It is fun to drive through different parts of the city of New Orleans for a number of reasons.  But one of the hidden treasures you can occasionally spy from time to time is a Banksy.  It is like an easter egg in a movie..... just a hidden gem, waiting to be spotted.

I'll keep my eyes open for more.  Have y'all seen any?  Please share in the comments.

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