Girl With Balloon by Banksy

Girl With Balloon Banksy

Find out more about Banksy’s ‘Girl With Balloon’ series, browse prints & editions for sale & view the works wanted by active buyers right now.

Balloon Girl, or Girl With Balloon, is one of Banksy’s most important works, demonstrating the graffiti stencil technique for which Banksy has become renowned around the world.

The work was released as an unsigned and signed print in 2004/2005 in low edition sizes; there are just 150 Girl With Balloon signed prints, and 600 unsigned, making it one of the most sought-after works from the artist’s oeuvre.

The work depicts a young girl, whose hair and dress are blowing in the wind, reaching for, or releasing, a red, heart-shaped balloon that has slipped from her grasp. The gesture and the red balloon, an archetypal symbol of childhood and freedom, present a powerful message that can be read in a number of ways. Whether you see the girl as losing the balloon, or about to catch it, the meaning can be interpreted as a loss of innocence or the arrival of new hope and love.

This work, which was accompanied by a quotation that read ‘there is always hope’, originally appeared in London’s Southbank, although it was later painted over by the council. In response Banksy produced it again in a new context – a miniature version appeared on the cardboard backing of a cheap Ikea frame which quickly made its mark on the art market when it realised £73,250 at a sale at Bonhams in 2012.

Another version of the stencil painted in Shoreditch, near Liverpool Street station, sparked outrage when the owners of a shop proposed to peel it off the wall and send the work straight to auction. After 10 years hidden behind a billboard, it was removed in February 2014 by the Sincura Group who were responsible for the removal of Banksy’s mural Slave Labour in North London a year before. It was shown at the exhibition, “Stealing Banksy?” and then sold.

In March 2014, Banksy reworked the, by then, extremely high profile stencil to mark the third anniversary of the civil war in Syria. The redesigned image was used to promote #withsyria, a campaign to raise awareness and rally support for the victims of the three-year-long conflict. The campaign denounces ‘years of brutality and bloodshed that have turned Syria into the epicentre of a massive humanitarian crisis’. In this version, the Girl With Balloon appeared with a headscarf to depict a Syrian refugee.

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