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Because the Internet Loves Pictures of Kittens: Banksy in Gaza

Though his identity remains largely anonymous, street artist Banksy has found a new location for his street art: the Gaza Strip. The artist has created a potent political mini-documentary that illustrates life in Gaza after the wars have ceased. The video, which was released on Banksy’s official site on February 25, depicts the artist as he enters Gaza through underground tunnels before finally entering the rubble-laden streets of the Palestinian strip.

Unlike other artists, Banksy doesn’t steer clear of creating controversial statements with his work. The video highlights the reality on the ground in Gaza, contrasting sharply with the lines of propaganda that international media has released about life for the Palestinians the war left behind. The video clip, which was facetiously meant to look like an ad for a travel campaign advertising “the hottest new destination”, is seemingly a commentary about how media cares so much about the region when it is in turmoil, and turns a blind eye when it has ended, forgetting about all the destruction that remains.

All the pieces created during his time in Gaza are sharp reflections of the hypocrisy of international media; of most interest is the giant, kitschy kitten with a pink bow. On his official site, Banksy explained, “A local man came up and said ‘Please — what does this mean?’ I explained I wanted to highlight the destruction in Gaza by posting photos on my website — but on the Internet people only look at pictures of kittens.”

Though this is not Banksy’s first time in Palestine, we hope that his visit and mini-documentary will turn the media’s attention to those in Gaza who are still living among that rubble.

For more information: Visit Banksy’s official site, and be sure to watch the video.

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