Well it’s been a while, but yesterday saw the arrival in London of Street Artist Banksy’s latest stencil work, and it has unsurprisingly caused quite the stir. The work which appeared at some point on Saturday night was placed up in Knightsbridge, somewhere you really don’t see any forms of Street Art, directly opposite the French Embassy. The work was created and placed in such a location to criticize and draw attention to the measures the French authorities are taking to deal with refugees in ‘The Jungle’ refugee camp in Calais, namely the use of deploying CS gas as a form of crowd control on the thousands of refugees currently residing there.
The work features the iconic image of Cosette from Victor Hugo’s historical novel Les Miserables, an image that despite many upgrades has continued to be the iconic symbol of the Les Miserables story through its many incarnations, most notably in its latest form as a musical. However as is often the case with Banksy things are a little more witty then that, and in this image the iconic French emblem is depicted with Cosette shown with tears running down her face as she is engulfed in the fumes from the CS gas canister on the ground below her.
The work also features a first from Banksy in the form of the addition of a QR code, which upon been scanned takes you to a Youtube video (shared below) showing a police raid in ‘The Jungle’ refugee camp in Calais on January 5th, which clearly shows teargas being deployed the French authorities.
As is often the case with anything put out by this artist, there was certainly a sense of hysteria surrounding it, with people flooding to see it this morning, ourselves included, reports of people attempting to steal it in the night and ultimately with the building owner on which it resides, covering over the work, with our guess being for the reason of selling the work for a rather large sum that in terms of Street Art, only Banksy can command.