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'Is This a Banksy Mural?' Politically-themed Santa Art Crops up Overnight in Leeds Raising Suspicion

Image for representational purpose.

Image for representational purpose.

The mural in question has a festive theme to it. The figure dressed in Santa clothing is a Big Issue seller.

If you’ve been around the internet for a while or are a fan of street art you might be aware of Banksy. His street murals have a very distinctive touch and are easily recognisable among his admirers. Which is why when a mural appeared on a city wall in a corner in Hyde Park, Leeds it had people asking, “Is this a Banksy mural?"

The mural in question has a festive theme to it. The figure dressed in Santa clothing is a Big Issue seller. A Banksy admirer and a student from Leeds University called Charlie Simionescu-Marin told Leeds Live the mural is “very potentially a Banksy."

“I assumed it was Banksy as the stylistic approach is similar – stencil clearly used, colours and shadows very detailed, makes a reference to societal issues," said Charlie.

The student believes the depiction of Santa as a Big Issue seller is very deep and a commentary on the society. The job is generally given out to homeless folks so they can get some minimum wage, and to depict Santa as one is striking in his opinion.

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Banksy made news in the 1990s as a freehand graffiti artist. As it is not entirely a legal activity, Banksy remains elusive and his real name a mystery. What’s confirmed is that he is a male of a Caucasian descent, that he started his life out in Bristol, but moved to London in the 2000s. His art always has political connotations and he is considered a rights activist by his followers.

The only official way to know if a mural has been created by Banksy is when he uploads the art to his official Instagram account, something that hasn’t happened yet with the Santa-Big Issue piece. Though his initial art was limited to Bristol and later to London, that isn’t the case anymore. So his fans do not doubt that this could be Banksy simply working out of London.

Coming back to the mural, Charlie again pointed out how the Santa-Big Issue mural is quite appropriate in today’s socio-economic environment. The mighty Santa who needs a minimum wage job to survive can also be a take on Rethink. Reskill. Reboot. campaign, according to him.

He guesses the mural is his take on the destruction left behind by the coronavirus pandemic.

Another claim came up that there is a “Marra” tag by the shoe. Alex Marra was accused of fraud by many when they attempted to buy original Banksy Prints online.

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first published:January 08, 2021, 18:29 IST