Untitled (Bird With Grenade) is a black and white spray paint produced by the iconic British street artist Banksy in 2002. Coming in an edition size of 2002 the image depicts a cartoon bird with wide eyes perching on a branch. The bird is holding a grenade in its beak where one might expect to see a twig or an acorn. The bird which carries connotations of peace contrasts starkly with the grenade, a symbol of war and violence.
Untitled (Bird With Grenade) is rendered using a stencil. When Banksy first started producing graffiti spray paints in Bristol, the artist preferred drawing images freehand. As the artist grew in popularity and recognition, Banksy switched to using the stencil technique as it enabled him to reduce the time spent producing the images which was a means to avoid being caught by the police and being spotted by the public. Banksy prides himself on his anonymity and the artist’s true identity remains a mystery, with some conspiring that Banksy is not a single person but a creative collective.
A characteristic feature of Banksy’s artworks is that he uses humour to satirically critique war, capitalism and greed. Untitled (Bird With Grenade) is clearly a comment on modern warfare. The way in which Banksy uses graffiti to comment on socio-political issues like war resonates strongly with the work of American graffiti artist Keith Haring who emerged from the New York graffiti subculture scene of the 1980s.
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