Banksy’s in Bethlehem

banksy's shop bethlehem IMG_3275

When blank concrete walls are constructed in socioeconomically deprived areas, graffiti is sure to be painted. Not long after the Israeli-controlled, Palestinian territory, the West Bank, was imprisoned inside an eight-metre high wall, street art began to appear, most notably made by British-artist, Banksy.

This Bristolian has painted in the occupied Palestinian territories more than once, recently even going so far as to sneak into Gaza to paint a kitten playing with a ball, among other works, all aimed at shedding light on the area and the plight of the Palestinian people The alternative being to succumb to a feeling of helplessness, similar to the woe being experienced by people in Paris, Beirut, Iraq, and Weston-super-Mare, at this moment, too. His Gaza interventions included an unusually earnest quote: “If we wash our hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless we side with the powerful – we don’t remain neutral”.

Bethlehem was chosen for the Pictures on Walls, Santa’s Ghetto exhibition in 2007, which was usually made in Central London. The erection of the wall inspired a new location choice, with around twenty artists, including Peter Blake, Antony Micallef, Paul Insect, Ron English, and Faile, who joined Banksy to make work to sell at a pop-up exhibition held at Manger Square, as well as a series of giant paintings around the city and on the wall itself.

Eight years later, and with much of the art produced covered over by fresh work, and a couple of Banksys having been removed from private walls and sold off by local residents, ending up at auction managed by the reprehensible Keszler and Bankrobber galleries, the interventions made by Banksy and other artists have been ineffectual in making the situation improve. Israel tightens the noose on the region.

Below is a documentary of the works on the wall and around Bethlehem.

bansky bethlehem IMG_3097

banksy's shop bethlehem IMG_3277Illegal wall, illegal posters of famous Banksy graphics for sale in Bethlehem.

banksy make hummus not walls bethlehem portrait“This huge wall is blocking out the sun, but screw it, we’re wearing sunglasses anyway.”

banksy bethlehem rock throw youth cemetary IMG_3347Local kids, frustrated and bored, throw stones at heavily armed Israeli soldiers sat inside a watchtower. Palestinian soldiers try to keep the peace.

blu bethlehem palestine street art IMG_3297Blu from Bologna in Italy.

stop and search banksy bethlehem street art IMG_3000Banksy Stop & Search, one of two identical walls made in Bethlehem. The other was removed by UK-based, Bankrobber Gallery and auctioned in the US.

banksy stop and search carving clare's gift shop bethlehem IMG_3175Claire Astanas’ gift shop on the opposite side of the wall to Rachel’s Tomb, where handicrafts include wooden separation walls, and recreation of Banksy artworks.

bansky's restaurant IMG_3281Falafel meal with a Coke and a smile at Banksy’s.

banksy bethlehem separation wall graffiti IMG_3028

sam3 bethlehem street art IMG_3025Sam3 from Spain.

political mural ayda refugee bethlehem palestine IMG_3033Mural painted at Ayda Refugee Camp

ayda refugee camp mural street art bethlehem palestine IMG_3039 copy

leila khaled mural bethlehem IMG_3048A locally painted mural of Leila Khaled, a Palestinian hero and martyr, and the poster-girl of the resistance movement. After being imprisoned for hijacking a domestic passenger plane, and later released in a prisoner swap, she is now involved in the politics of the moderate Palestinian National Council.

banksy bethlehem make hummus not walls graffiti IMG_3329 301px“MAKE HUMMUS NOT WALLS” by Banksy, 2007.

how and nosm kando bethlehem IMG_3263Kando’s store and gas station and a work by How and Nosm, based in New York. The artists were in Palestine teaching art to women and girls living in refugee camps. The Kando family made its money in selling the Dead Sea Scrolls which hang in the Israel Museum.

korea artist mural israel palestine separation wall IMG_3122

west bank mural bethlehem made in korea IMG_3116

west bank mural graffiti bethlehem made in korea IMG_3118 copyPainted by an anonymous group of Korean artists.

sam3 artist video screen bethlehem palestine IMG_3126

Banksy bethlehem Bahamas wall steak house IMG_3127

camel sam3 mural bethlehem the wall steak house IMG_3131The head of a camel, painted by Sam3 in 2007. An adjacent restaurant, formerly “Bahama’s Seafood Restaurant,” and then “Bahama’s Steak Restaurant,” and most recently, “The Wall Steak House,” has painted two large white squares – one a faded menu, the other a football projection screen – over the camel’s body. The group has also screwed in a sign under the chin of Sam3′s camel, making clear the demarcation in the cultural hierarchy in Palestinian society: football and food before art.

banksy flower thrower bethlehem beit sahour shepard's field IMG_3217 street art parisBanksy’s Flower Thrower graces the side of a car wash at Shepards’ Field/Beit Sahour.

graffiti separation wall israel palestine terrrorism decreased IMG_3317

SAM3 street art bethlehem IMG_3018

leila khaled mural bethlehem IMG_3298

israeli jew bethlehem palestine street art mural IMG_3292

palestinian bethlehem street art IMG_3293

jr photo street pasting bethlehem bethlehem IMG_3290Artwork by French artist, JR.

mother and child artwork bethlehem IMG_3341

blu street art bethlehem IMG_3020Work by Italian artist, Blu.

how and nosm IMG_3075 copyWork by New Yorkaise duo, How & Nosm.

penguin palestine banksys in bethlehem - street art paris IMG_3322

clare astana gift shop bethlehem graffiti postcard IMG_3180Postcard on sale in Clare’s Gift Shop.

banksys in bethlehem palestine - street art paris IMG_3270

saint banksy graffiti bethlehem IMG_3344

rhino mural bethlehem IMG_3309

banksys in bethlehem palestine - street art paris IMG_3184

seth street art bethlehem IMG_3373Work by Parisian street artist, Seth.

angel bethlehem separation wall - street art paris IMG_3342

how nosm bethlehem IMG_3223How & Nosm.

how and nosm IMG_3345How & Nosm

how and nosm IMG_3069How & Nosm

how and nosm detail bethlehem IMG_3224How & Nosm

how and nosm bethlehem IMG_3228How & Nosm

how and nosm bethlehem IMG_3227How & Nosm

jr pasting bethlehem fuck bibi netanyahu IMG_3340

faile stret art bethlehem IMG_3152Faile from New York.

street art dove and heart bethehem IMG_3190

conor harrington street art bethlehem IMG_3187Irish artist, Conor Harrington.

palestine street art captain borderline bethlehem IMG_3294

palestine street art captain borderline bethlehem IMG_3291

escalator sam3 bethlehem street art dominos blu bologna IMG_3019Sam3 (left) and EricailCane (main)

banksy bethlehem IMG_3287

banksy bethlehem IMG_3258


Photos taken in September 2013

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