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Signed Mixed Media Edition of 5
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Joe Syer, Head of Urban & Contemporary Art
Tortoise Helmet is a signed spray paint on found steel made by the acclaimed British street artist Banksy. In this spray paint Banksy depicts a tortoise using a stencil and coloured spray paint. The work differs from many of Banksy’s other artworks which are rendered in black and white spray paint. The tortoise in the image is drawn wearing a yellow hardhat helmet in place of its shell.
Tortoises carry connotations of wisdom, knowledge and age meaning that this image can be interpreted in various different ways, as in the case with many of Banksy’s intentionally ambiguous spray paints. The fact that the tortoise’s shell, the part of its body which acts as a mobile home and a means of defence, is replaced by a helmet could be a commentary on homelessness or the housing crisis that is plaguing the United Kingdom following the financial crash of 2007.
Many of Banksy’s artworks carry a political message and reflect the artist’s anti-establishment values and disdain for wealth, greed and capitalism. Banksy’s spray paints seem witty on first view, but when thought about in more depth, it is apparent that they often bear strong political critiques and act as a critical analysis of society’s socio-economic landscape.
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