Activism

New Banksy Mural Highlights Homelessness

Although the mural has a Christmas theme, the underlying meaning goes deeper.

@banksy

A new Banksy mural that popped up last week sends a message about homelessness.
 
The mural, which appeared in Birmingham, England, features two flying reindeer spray-painted to look like they are attached to a park bench. When someone lays on the bench to sleep, as many homeless people are forced to do at night, it looks like the bench is a sleigh being pulled by the magical deer.
 
Banksy released a film on Instagram in tandem with the mural that shows a man named Ryan being “pulled” by the deer.

“God bless Birmingham,” Banksy said in the post. “In the 20 minutes we filmed Ryan on this bench passers-by gave him a hot drink, two chocolate bars and a lighter - without him ever asking for anything.”
 
Since the mural went up on Friday, it has become the backdrop for plenty of portraits and selfies—and the Instagram post has racked up over 2 million likes. It has also already been defaced by someone else who spray painted two red noses on the reindeer, despite barriers being put up around the art.
 
"I think it comes at a great time of year - we obviously didn't know it was coming, but what a great time,” Luke Crane of the Jewellery Quarter Business Improvement District in Birmingham told BBC. “And it's obviously about giving at a time of need for the homelessness that we have in these areas, and it's something that we've been working in partnership with the council and other organisations to try and tackle, so it's great to see it in our area."

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