Because I’m Worthless is an unsigned screen print released as a part of Banksy’s iconic Placard Rat series in 2004 as a rare edition of 175.
In this print, Banksy uses one of his most popular symbols, the rat, which simultaneously references the famous French graffiti artist Blek Le Rat. Banksy regularly uses the rat as a motif in a number of his artworks - whether this is a pure coincidence or whether it’s because “rat” is an anagram of art is not certain. The image shows a rat in Banksy’s signature stencil-style, wearing a Peace chain, holding a placard that drips in red (or pink) graffiti reading, ‘Because I’m Worthless.'
As with all Banksy artwork, there may be multiple interpretations to this much sought-after screen print. Since Banksy usually uses the rat to symbolise the average working-class person, one possible meaning could be a reflection on how society deems such “vermin” worthless. However, Banksy is also slightly mocking the L’Oreal slogan ‘Because I’m Worth it’, which might be seen as a subversive nod to neoliberal consumer capitalism and its relationship to the exploitation of the working class.
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