— by Nita Balani
Toronto’s art scene reached a height with The Art of Banksy hitting the circuit with its North American premiere right here in The 6ix. It is especially promising for Toronto’s art circle to have Banksy’s prized exhibits on display here in our city as it further cements our place on the art map. There are over 80 pieces on display all installed with perfect lighting and is the largest blockbuster Banksy exhibit ever.
Banksy of the U.K. needs no introduction to most art lovers and graffiti artists. He rose to popularity from his illegal street art on the walls and buildings all over London and the United Kingdom because his satirical commentary on the political and social environment hit home with the general public. He grew rapidly from graffiti artist to an internationally acclaimed personality because he spoke a universal truth that resonated across all borders and cultures. And yet nobody knows who he is. His real identity has never been revealed!
The Art of Banksy’s curator (and former manager/friend) Steven Lazarides and his dream Team – co-curator Chris Ford, Live Nation and Starvox Exhibits, have done an exceptional job of presenting Banksy’s chefs d’oeuvre with a unique flair.
None of the art pieces on display have been pulled off the walls or streets. They are individually owned artworks on canvas and screen prints. They are installed in a perfectly fitting location at a warehouse, complete with brick walls and coiled pipes bringing the outdoor look and feel which is Banksy’s preferred ‘canvas’ for his unique and iconic art of graffiti. The masterpieces are accompanied with an optional audio guide to put them into perspective and add the formal touch of a display in a museum.
Steven’s stories in his voice add the personal touch to each of the works bringing the visual experience of Banksy closer to our hearts and minds. The iconic giant’s works timelessly extremely politically and socially relevant. Some of the works are thought provoking like ‘Laugh Now’, a monkey wearing a sign which says “Laugh now but one day we’ll be in charge”. Another work, ‘The Girl with the Balloon’ continues to be one of the most well-loved and popular pieces till today. Other spectacular pieces are the famous ‘ Flag Wall’ – a comment on the famous Iwo Jima soldiers memorial in Washington D.C, and the gigantic floor to ceiling work entitled ‘ Forgive us our Trespassing ‘, which is replica of a stained glass window in a church. Not to miss are other famous pieces of ‘Soup Cans(Tesco brand)’ which was Banksy’s take on Andy Warhol’s iconic work of Campbell soup cans and the ‘Flower Thrower’ – a commentary on war . One of Banksy’s favorite themes, a commentary on the police and law enforcement was at its height when the cheeky artist had the gumption to strike overnight in one of London’s most visited tourist spots – Trafalgar Square. He boldly stenciled Designated Riot Area across in daring defiance of it being illegal to defame public structures. This is further reflected in the Flying Copper series.
This is indeed a rare opportunity to see this amazing artist’s work practically at your doorstep at 213 Sterling Road, Toronto. Banksy will definitely leave an indelible mark on the Toronto art scene with this legendary exhibit.
The show is from June 13-July 11.For more information please visit www.banksyexhibit.com.