At entering The Herbert Gallery in Coventry, we immediately (as a group) went in to the main art exhibiton room, and on the very first wall infront of us, were pieces of work by Banksy. I have been a huge fan of Banksy since (around) 2006 as I saw a piece of his work on Brick Lane, on my first EVER visit to London. I have previously talked about Banksy in an ITAP Lecture – rather in the same way he was portrayed at The Herbert. The first piece of work by Banksy, Napalm, 2004 (pictured below), was situated next to Suburban Summer Evenings by Bob Barron (pictured below), painted in the early-mid 80’s.


(c) Bob Barron; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

They both feature versions of Nick Ut’s 1972 Pulitzer Prize–winning photograph of nine year old Kim Phuc; the girl that ran down a road nude near Trang Bang after an Air Force napalm attack in South Vietnam. Banksy is somewhat ‘known’ to be this ‘original, new, street artist’ – and don’t get me wrong – I love Banksy and his work, but there were people before him, such as Blek Le Rat (to be featured later), who had similar ‘outrageous and controversial’  styles to Art, known as Satirical Street Art. You can see in these two images how both artists have used the iconic image in a controversial manor; taking the mick a bit with how they have been used and concept behind the piece. Out of the two, I prefer Banksy’s take on this iconic 20th Century photograph, as it has more of a visual concept and the viewer can easily understand it’s meaning. Banksy probably learnt from Barron’s ‘mistakes’, and then obviously applied his own style. The below images, Bomb Hugger (2002), top image, and CND Soldiers (2005), bottom image, were also works by Banksy both featured at the Exhibiton.



CND Soldiers was positioned next to Desert Storm by Blek Le Rat (image below). Another little ‘play’ by the exhibitors placing artworks next to each other that one was clearly an influence to the other (Le Rat being the influence to Banksy).


Both are forms of Satirical Art, with Banksy playing on the Soldiers supporting CND and peace – which is the total opposite of their profession, and Blek Le Rat using the desert camouflage pattern (which is quite big and has made it’s comeback into fashion at the moment), with birds and bats camouflaged in, and the stenciled design of the solider (with no eyes), and the symbols of execution.

This was one thing I wasn’t expecting from the exhibition prior to going to see it, and was pleasantly surprised at finding two of my favourite street artist had been featured in it.