Heavy Weaponry was made by contemporary British artist Banksy in 2000 and comes in an edition size of 10. The black spray paint and emulsion on canvas the print depicts an elephant rendered in Banksy’s recognisable stencil style with a rocket strapped to its back. The image is set against a green backdrop. The elephant dominates the centre of the composition and is captured strolling across the print.
The work’s witty title captures Banksy’s humour and the way satire permeates his works. Banksy often uses humour in his artworks to explore serious issues such as modern warfare, capitalism and poverty in an accessible way. Heavy Weaponry is defined by its minimalist style and iconic tone. The image of the elephant bearing a rocket on its back can be interpreted in various ways. The primary message of the print is anti-military, in line with Banksy’s other works using similar imagery.
The use of an elephant as an anti-war symbol resonates with other famous Banksy works featuring various animals that represent ordinary people or the ‘masses’ and their interactions with the establishment, such as Laugh Now which depicts a sombre monkey.
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