During his New York residency, in 2013, Banksy created a film entitled Rebel Rocket Attack, it is from there that this piece of art originated. It’s a satirical video about the war is Syria, and a direct spoof on the YouTube videos uploaded by Syrian rebels throughout the conflict. It shows footage of a group of rebels firing a man-portable air-defence system (MANPAD) at an undentifyable flying object. The assumption to begin with is that the rocket has struck a Syrian regime aircraft and as the rebels celebrate, shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ over and over the object crashes to the ground. Their kill is Dumbo, the well-loved Disney character, who dies at the rebels feet.
The print shows the iconic flying baby elephant after he has been shot out of the sky by lying on the ground. One of the men is on top of Dumbo, celebrating the kill, three other men are surrounding the hostage pointing weapons. This artwork is largely black and white, with a touch of pastel yellow on Dumbo’s hat, it has been finished with watercolour and has been signed in pencil by Banksy himself.
Politically charged art is nothing new to Banksy, and casting comment through his work in the Middle East is something he is familiar with. In 2007 he left his mark along security barriers on the West Bank in a provocative comment on the Israel-Palestine conflict.
As a Banksy piece, this work is well-known work, regularly in demand; its relatively low edition size contributes to its desirability – there are just 25 Dumbo signed prints.