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Also known as Tesco Flag, Banksy’s 2008 screen print Very Little Helps cuttingly plays on the motif of the British supermarket chain. A group of three children are depicted here surrounding a flagpole, but instead of raising a flag, one of them raises a Tesco branded plastic bag that the other two pledging their allegiance to, hands on their hearts.
A cutting reference to Tesco’s famous slogan ‘Every little helps’, the work seems to denounce the presence of the supermarket chain on almost every high street in Britain, and its forcing out of diversity and independence. The choice of the flag symbol also seems to emphasise the political theory that corporations have been allowed to grow into such big entities under late capitalism that they can almost be considered to be the new nation states.
Originally painted as a mural in London, Very Little Helps soon became the subject of public and media speculation which lead to it being subsequently vandalised - provoking further discussion on the distinctions between street art and graffiti. After it was partially damaged, with the Tesco flag painted over and replaced with a tag from rival artist King Robbo, the work was placed under perspex.
In 2008, Very Little Helps was released as a series of 299 signed Bansky prints. At Pictures on Wall's first and only open day on 6 & 7 December that year, the works were released as a lottery, alongside a tour of the factory, live printing sessions and various graffiti activities. The Very Little Helps lottery raised £24,406.61, and all proceeds were donated to Sightsavers, the sight and disability rights charity.