While the end of 2016 nears by the day, I begin to mentally examine the art exhibitions I have visited and the feelings that they provoked within. The most impressionable exhibition I visited – hands down – would be The Art of Banksy Melbourne.
If there was one contemporary artist who has polarised society the most in recent years, Banksy definitely takes the gong. His stencilled style unleashed from under a sheath of mystery and anonymity comments on socio-political issues on outdoor canvases (street walls) around the globe, while simultaneously being the impetus for mass hysteria when it comes to the cult following he has attracted.
Banksy’s former manager, Steve Lazarides, curated this exhibition featuring over 80 pieces, where visitors can immerse themselves in the satirical, and oftentimes resonating, themes found buried in his work. Ironically, the exhibition is being shown at The Paddock at Federation Square, Melbourne’s cultural hub that also experienced scrutiny and criticism during its construction years ago. In controversial style, the exhibition does not have the approval of Banksy himself, as reported by Australian news channel SBS.
Footnote: Photography was allowed during my visit to The Art of Banksy, so I created this photo essay from works that resonated with me the most; to report on an event in my hometown as well. I must admit, there were a few visitors who were huffing and puffing at me for my intention to take photos. Though, I wish to make it adamantly clear that my intention was not motivated by plagiarising Banksy’s work or for monetary gain. I also took photos at moments that did not encroach on the space of other visitors wandering through the exhibition and their resulting experiences. While I paid my entry fee like everyone else and took the photos using a camera with a lens that was less than 3", Banksy holds the copyright for all of the works seen in this photo essay. For me, this is a comment on what art can teach us. If only Steve Lazarides can take a wise lesson from this, too, rather than an opportunity.
The Art of Banksy Melbourne exhibition is running daily from 11am to 8pm at The Paddock at Federation Square in Melbourne’s central business district until January 22, 2017. Adults $30.00, concession $25.00, families $70.00, juniors $10.00.
Refer to the links provided for maps on where to go. Or, you can let the footpath pasties lead you the way.