Banksy on the West Bank

What do you know about the Palestinian Territories, Israel and the wall between them? How has Banksy used his street art to protest Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people? 

  1. Work in groups. Print and laminate the A6 cards below. Or use the collapsable accordions below. Place the 8 cards in a pile with the photographs of Banksy’s street art facing up. Reveal the first text or card as an example. Following the example, discuss the symbols that Banksy uses in each work of art. What do they represent? Then discuss why he has included these symbols. What is his intention or purpose? What is his 'message'? Finally, write out one or two complete sentences for each text, that connect Banksy's use of symbolism to his intention.

  2. A6 cards: 'Banksy on the West Bank'

           

    Purpose

    Banksy aims to show Israelis how they are threatening peace in the region.  

    Symbolism

    The dove with the olive branch symoblises peace. The bullet-proof vest represents protective measures and the red target symbolises military action.  

    Textual analysis

    By depicting a dove with an olive branch, wearing a bullet-proof vest in the crosshairs of rifle, Banksy uses symbolism to make Israelis aware that their military action threatens peace in the region. 

             

    Purpose

    Banksy aims to show viewers how futile walls and fences are in supressing human expression and desires for freedom. 

    Symbolism

    The pole-vault jumper represents people’s desire to overcome challenges, reach new heights and take risks. 

    Textual analysis

    By depicting a pole-vault jumper on the West Bank wall, jumping over a fence, Banksy uses symbolism to suggest that walls are futile in suppressing people’s desire to overcome challenges, reach new heights and take risks. 

             

    Purpose

    Banksy aims to show Israelis how their wall on the West Bank robs Palestinians of their resources.  

    Symbolism

    The Christmas tree symoblises festivity and presents symobolise material wealth. Tree stumps represent the use of natural resources. Walls symbolise a division of people. 

    Textual analysis

    By depicting a walled-in Christmas tree with presents and tree stumps outside this wall, Banksy uses symbolism to imply that Israelis have stolen Palestine’s natural resources for their own exclusive use. 


             

    Purpose

    Banksy aims to show how the innocence of youth will tear down Israel’s wall and divisive policies. 

    Symbolism

    The boy with a bucket and a shovel represent the innocence of youth. The hole in the wall stands for a broken policy. A clear blue sky represents freedom and opportunity.  

    Textual analysis

    By depicting a hole in the West Bank wall and a boy with a bucket and shovel under a clear blue sky on the other side, Banksy uses symbolism to suggest that the innocence of youth will tear down Israel’s wall and divisive policies. 


             

    Purpose

    Banksy aims to show Israelis how their wall gives them an artificial sense of safety. 

    Symbolism

    The sedan chairs, flowers and window with a view symoblise safety and homeliness. The cartoon style suggests artificiality. The mountains and forest are typical of a different climate than Israel’s. 

    Textual analysis

    By depicting in a cartoon style two homey sedan chairs, flowers and a window with a view of a mountain lake on the West Bank wall, Banksy uses symbolism to show Israelis how unrealistic and artificial their wall is in providing them with safety.


    Purpose

    Banksy aims to show the viewer how Israeli acts of military aggression will not be tolerated by Palestinians.

    Symbolism

    Tanks are a symbol of military might and aggression. The ‘tow away zone’ sign symbolises policy and a judgement of what kind behaviour is intolerable.  

    Textual analysis

    By depicting in the Palestinian Territories a ‘tow away zone’ sign with a tow truck pulling a tank, Banksy uses symbolism to show that Palestinians will not tolerate Israeli military aggression.

             

    Purpose

    Banksy aims to show Israelis how futile their efforts are to police and control Palestinians.

    Symbolism

    A soldier symbolises military force. An inspection of one’s ID card an act of dominance of one person over another. A Donkey represents stubbornness and the natural world which cannot be changed.

    Textual analysis

    By depicting the silhouette of an Israeli soldier checking the ID of a donkey, Banksy uses symbolism to show Israelis that their efforts to police and control Palestinians as futile as trying to tell a donkey what to do.

             

    Purpose

    Banksy aims to convince the world that the most effective form of protest is non-violent protest.

    Symbolism

    The Palestinian Keffiyeh is international symbol of protest, often worn as a mask against tear gas from riot police. A baseball cap turned backward usually suggests rebellion. Flowers are a sign of peace and an offering of friendship. 

    Textual analysis

    By depicting the silhouette of a protester, wearing the Keffiyeh and a backward baseball cap, holding a bouquet of flowers where he would usually hold a Molotov cocktail, Banksy uses symbolism to convince the world that non-violent protest is the more effective than violent protest.

  3. How does your analysis of each artwork compare to the analysis provided? As a class, discuss your understanding of the symbols in the artworks. What did you find confusing? If you could ask Banksy anything about his work on the West Bank, what would you ask?  

  4. What kinds of global issues are explored in Banksy's artwork on the West Bank? How does his artwork deepen your understanding of or relate to one or more of the seven concepts from this course: identity, culture, communication, representation, perspective, transformation or creativity. 
Assessment

Notice how all of the model analyses of these Banksy works use a similar sentence structure, when writing about language and purpose: "By depicting X, the author uses stylistic device Y to achieve Y." Such sentence structures are useful on Paper 1, when analysing unseen texts.

Last modified: Thursday, 18 June 2020, 9:04 AM