Banksy's No.5, Space Girl And Bird

Year: 2003
Medium: Spray Paint
Dimensions: 59 x 112cm
Last Hammer: £67,063 (Christie's London, 2007)
Signed/Unsigned: Unsigned
This work by Banksy shows a young girl wearing an old fashioned diving helmet, while holding a yellow bird.No. 5, Space Girl and Bird © Banksy 2003
Joe Syer

Joe Syer, Co-Founder & Specialist[email protected]

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Banksy's No.5, Space Girl And Bird is a quintessential embodiment of the artist's prowess in weaving together visual artistry with poignant societal critique and cultural relevance. Created in 2003, this spray paint masterpiece was originally commissioned by the band Blur to serve as cover art for their album Think Tank. It pictures a blend of innocence and isolation, portraying a girl in an oversized helmet, disconnected from her surroundings as she holds a small yellow bird. The absence of background details casts her in an expansive void, highlighting a theme prevalent in Banksy's oeuvre – society and isolation.


No.5, Space Girl And Bird Meaning & Analysis

Spanning 59cm by 112cm, No.5, Space Girl And Bird transcends its physical form to become a statement piece that delves deep into the artist’s recurring exploration of space and separation. Banksy, known for his enigmatic presence and sharp societal insights, crafts a world where the central figure becomes a poignant symbol of the barriers erected between humanity and nature by technology. This artwork is a conduit for reflection on the broader societal issues that define our times. Banksy's chosen motif, the helmeted character, is not merely a stylistic choice but a profound commentary on the human condition. While the helmet is ostensibly a protective gear, it becomes a metaphorical barrier, isolating the wearer from the environment and, symbolically, from the essence of life itself. The stark, helmeted girl in this piece is estranged, even as she clutches a symbol of freedom and natural beauty—a bird, vibrant against the starkness of her attire. This juxtaposition serves as a stark reminder of the dichotomy between protection and isolation, a theme that resonates deeply in our increasingly digitised and isolated living conditions.

In this piece, Banksy masterfully juxtaposes innocence with industrialisation. The girl’s large helmet is a powerful visual metaphor: she is unable to connect with the bird, a natural element, due to the artificial barrier imposed upon her. This imagery resonates with Banksy's broader critique of the tainted interaction between humans and nature, evident in other creations where natural beauty is obscured or made inaccessible by the trappings of modernity. The anonymity of the space girl, her face obscured by the helmet, further compounds the sense of detachment, serving as a stark reminder of the concealing aspects of modern society's protective gears. This motif of obscured identity is not just a commentary on physical barriers but also on the psychological and emotional barriers that individuals erect in an attempt to navigate the complexities of modern life – including Banksy’s shielding of his own identity.

“This artwork brilliantly critiques the impacts of technology and industrialisation on our natural and emotional landscapes, resonating with Banksy's ongoing themes of separation and alienation.”

Joe Syer
Joe Syer,Co-Founder & Specialist,MYArtbroker

Banksy’s Cultural Relevance

The origins of No.5, Space Girl And Bird speak of Banksy’s enduring relevance even outside the traditional confines of the art world. Initially conceptualised as a study for a commercial commission, the helmeted girl motif first adorned a wall in Chicago before becoming part of the visual language for the English rock band Blur's album. The artwork's journey from a street art piece to a cultural icon, adorning the cover of supplement CD samples distributed with The Observer, is a testament to Banksy's seamless integration into popular culture and music. This transition not only underscores the artist's versatility but also his ability to bridge the gap between high art and mainstream media. It embodies the artist's skillful blend of aesthetic appeal and hard-hitting social commentary, a hallmark that has come to define Banksy's works. The artwork's transition from street art to a high-value collector's item mirrors the evolving perceptions of art and its role in society, highlighting the increasing acceptance and appreciation of alternative art forms in the contemporary art world.

No.5, Space Girl And Bird is a poignant reminder of the barriers we erect, not only around our environment but within our personal lives, often at the cost of experiencing the world's natural beauty. The artwork stands as a testament to Banksy's ability to capture the zeitgeist, making a lasting impression on both the art world and societal consciousness.

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