The most mysterious and most influential street artist of today, Banksy, hits Rome with his new exhibition titled War, Capitalism & Liberty. This show marks the first time that so many of Banksy’s works, including paintings and stencils, are displayed all together, making it the largest exhibition of the artist’s work ever, allegedly. The capital of Italy will be home to these artworks this summer, and on that occasion, other street artists will be introduced to the Rome Foundation Museum. According to La Repubblica, the Italian newspaper that announced the massive Banksy show in Rome, his works will be on display from May 24th to September 9th at the Fondazione Rome Arte-Musei gallery in Palazzo Cipolla. All of the artworks have been certified as originals and have been loaned to the museum from various private collections from all over the world.
In the true Banksy fashion, the exhibition in Rome will showcase his works that tackle the usual ideas that interest the elusive artist. He often depicts the ironic references to war, most recent one being the war in Syria and the ongoing refugee crisis that is shaking Europe, his works regarding the cruelty of capitalist world are known for their strong messages and serve as reminders of the metaphorical bondage we are all victims of, and Banksy’s view of liberty is inspiring to people all over the world who feel trapped in the consumerist society ran by money, power, and politics. The exhibition War, Capitalism & Liberty is curated by Francesca Mezzano and Stefano Antonelli, and rumor has it that the mysterious artist will visit the exhibition himself!
As we know, where controversial issues go, Banksy follows. We all remember the famous Dismaland Bemusement Park, the project that hit the headlines like no artwork has ever before. Following that success, Banksy shifted his interest to the refugee crisis that Europe is facing, and he even shipped the remains of the Dismaland Bemusement Park to the town of Calais in France as an addition to the refugee camp situated there. Soon after that, the stencil image of Steve Jobs, who we all know as the founder of Apple, but who was also a son of a Syrian refugee, was painted on a wall in the vicinity of the camp. Another eye-opening artwork that deals with the refugee crisis is his rendition of the famous Theodore Gericault’s The Raft of the Medusa, that depicts a luxurious yacht and a raft full of migrants. The piece carries the message “We’re not all in the same boat”, criticizing the world’s lack of understanding for the refugees from the war-stricken country.
In the light of recent events regarding the decision that the asylum seekers in Greece are to be deported back to Turkey, the number of refugees that reach Italian shores is rising considerably. While this may not be convenient for the Italian government, the fact that the country is no longer untouched by the migration crisis may seem interesting to Banksy, and this exhibition in Rome could be a step towards his longer stay in the Mediterranean paese. His mural in Naples, Madonna With a Pistol, as his only surviving Italian work has been placed under a protective cover in order to be preserved, but this piece may not be the only one in this country for long. As we know, Banksy is very secretive about his identity, and we can only assume what his next step is going to be, but nevertheless, the Rome exhibition will surely encourage the artist to visit Italy once again and maybe even decide to stay for a while and produce the next masterpiece in this beautiful country.
All images are for illustrative purposes only.
Featured image: Banksy artwork opposite the French embassy in London, United Kingdom on January 25, 2016 via londoncallingblog.net