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Often referred to as Consumer Jesus, Christ with Shopping Bags is one of the more controversial Banksy prints - overt in its anti-religious sentiment. Unusually for Banksy, he never put the image on the street, and its relatively low edition size places it in high demand.
The artwork shows the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, yet without the actual cross and, rather than nails peircing his hands, shopping bags have been drawn in instead. Despite each bag also being festooned in fluorescent pink ribbon, closer inspection reveals them to be seeping black blood. Christmas presents seem to bulge from these macabre shopping bags, including commercially associated childhood icons: the candy cane and Mickey Mouse.
Undoubtedly meant as a satirical take on modern commercialism, this print points a finger at the hypocrisy of the modern Americanisation of the Christmas. As is typical of Banksy’s style, he juxtaposes two disparate themes to shock and unnerve the viewer.
A deliberate perversion of Christian values and a communication the bleakness it represents for the artist, this work makes us uneasy. Jesus himself appears in pain, weighed down by the shopping bags, symbolising the damage that consumerism has inflicted on the original values of Christianity – charity, compassion, forgiveness and gratitude.
To read more about Banksy's relationship with consumer capitalism, see our article here.