In Golf Sale, Banksy references a photograph of the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre, showing a man bravely standing in front of a line of tanks. Banksy's rendition gives the man a sign that reads "GOLF SALE." Could Banksy be offering an ironic comment on contemporary society's skewed priorities?
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A purposeful replica of Jeff Widener’s 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre photograph, Banksy’s Golf Sale exemplifies his anti-war standing. The incident it portrays took place in the aftermath of the Chinese military’s violent suppression of the ’89 Democracy Movement, and shows a man standing defiantly in front of a line of tanks attempting to block the path through Beijing.
It is widely considered to be one of the most notable acts of non-violent intervention in history and the photograph is an iconic image of the 20th century.
This Banksy print recreates the scene in black and white, as is typical of his style. While in the original photo, the protester stands in front of three imposing tanks, Banksy has inserted a sign into the figure's hands, simply reading ‘GOLF SALE’ - reminiscent of the placards often seen around London’s Oxford Street.
In Banging Your Head Against A Brick Wall, a book released by Banksy in 2001, the artist said ‘We can’t do anything to change the world until capitalism crumbles. In the meantime, we should all go shopping to console ourselves.’ With this work, as well as paying tribute to the ones who dare to stand up to authority, Banksy also aims pointed criticism at our ability to turn a blind eye to the evils of consumerist culture, of the kind that can also be found in other prints such as Sale Ends, Christ With Shopping Bags and Festival.