If you were looking for new Banksy art, look no further than the Jungle refugee camp in Calais, France. According to a set of photos posted to his website, the British artist created four new pieces of art, 12 permanent structures, and an ad hoc playground when he visited the camp.
One of the pieces is a depiction of Steve Jobs carrying an early Macintosh and a knapsack along with an inscription memorializing Jobs’s Syrian refugee paternity.
A second piece is reminiscent of Géricault’s “Raft of Medusa,” an iconic work of French impressionism repurposed to comment on the plight of refugees seeking aid. In it, a group of people on a raft waves at a passing cruise ship. The last two are a silhouette of a boy looking through a telescope that’s also serving as a vulture’s perch and a graffiti of the words, “Maybe this whole situation will just sort itself out.”
The structures contributed to the camp were erected under the “Dismal Aid” aegis, a reference to Banksy’s previous work Dismaland.
Though some criticize Banksy for what could be called “injustice tourism,” his contribution of structures and a playground seem to indicate that he’s taking his role past provocateur and into an agent of real change. His presence definitely seems to have shifted things in the right direction.
If you’d like to learn more, The Guardian has an excellent photo essay on the Calais camp.