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One of his earlier prints, Bomb Middle England depicts an explosive game of boules - typical of the Banksy’s irreverent approach to anti-war art. It was released by Pictures on Walls, the artist’s original UK print house, in 2003 as an edition of 450 unsigned prints. There are also a rare 50 signed prints on woven paper.
The work shows us three elderly ladies, innocently clad in coats and hats as they enjoy playing boules. The three characters and their balls are rendered in black and white in Banksy’s iconic stencil style, and here he has replaced the boule balls with metal cannonballs, all with lit fuses. The women stand on the far left side whilst their balls roll towards the right, ready to blow.
The title refers to one of Banksy’s most popular targets – the indifferent bourgeoisie. However, as always, this Bansky print can be interpreted in a variety of ways; the work could seem to convey a belief that the English elite are immune to violence and the brutality of war as they throw bombs without a care. Whereas another reading considers the work as a parody of war as a game to be played by those in elite social circles who have the power to expend the lives of others and never suffer the consequences. Other interpretations view the three elderly ladies, wearing hats reminiscent of military helmets, as soldiers, attacking Middle England with the specific values and attitudes put upon them by society.