Paris is now home to seven, new provocative pieces of street art, in what experts believe is a spree by the mysterious British artist Banksy, voicing their message on migration—and revolution.
Although none of the pieces sport Banksy’s signature (that’s not unusual, as they have not signed many of their most famous works), local art experts told AFP that they looked genuine.
One of the most stunning murals portrays a young girl climbing out of her sleeping bag on the sidewalk and spraying a pink damask pattern on the wall over the image of a dark swastika. The mural was painted close to the site of a refugee shelter in northern Paris, which authorities closed against the wishes of the city’s socialist mayor Anne Hidalgo.
Another stencilled image appears next to Paris’s Bataclan venue—the main target for jihadist extremists during a night of coordinated attacks in the city in 2015. The image shows a woman, looking down, her face covered in a mourning veil.
And yet another mural, also in northern Paris, parodies a renowned work of art that portrays Napoleon Bonaparte. While the original 19th-century image displays Napoleon on horseback on his way to invade Italy in 1800, the spray-painted version wrapped the military leader in a full red headscarf, no doubt a comment on France’s ban on face-covering Islamic veils.
Near the Sorbonne on the Seine’s southern bank, the site of the famous student revolt of 50 years ago, another new mural seems to question where the revolutionary spirit has gone. Inscribing the image “May 1968″—the date of the now legendary wave of student and worker protests—the artist painted a rat with a polka-dot bow, similar to the one Disney’s Minnie Mouse wears. Ironically, the Disneyland Paris theme park outside the capital is one of its largest employers of young people.
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