Kids On Guns Banksy
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Kids On Guns was released in 2003 in an edition of 25 and is yet another example of his artworks featuring his iconic figure from Balloon Girl. The painting was made using black acrylic and spray paint. It depicts the silhouettes of two children holding a teddy bear, standing on top of a hill of weapons.
The simple colour contrasts gives the images a profound meaning. The children stand for innocence, love and hope despite being surrounded by the violence and suffering represented by the dark pile of guns.
Kids On Guns’s is created with stencil silhouettes of a young boy and girl standing atop a hill of weapons and guns. Surrounded by violence and threat, both characters are looking at each other, the boy’s left hand is resting on the girl’s shoulder as a sign of support. They seem victorious as they stand atop the pile of weapons.
In a different reading, they could be finding solace with each other in the aftermath of destruction that left them with nothing more than each other to build a new world. Both kids are holding toys, symbols of their young age and innocence - the boy is holding a teddy bear and the girl a heart-shaped red balloon, reminiscent of Banksy’s most famous work, Girl with Balloon.
The eye is immediately attracted to the only bright spot of colour in the piece, which evokes love and strength. That little girl is reminiscent of Banksy's iconic Girl with Balloon, a girl losing her innocence as her red heart-shaped balloon drifts away or, as some suggest, she is recapturing.
Similar to that iconic artwork, Banksy’s motif of children as the symbol of innocence strikes a hopeful note within his otherwise ironic, satirical oeuvre. Both pieces seem to suggest that through embracing such positive values embodied by the two kids, humanity can overcome violence and war. At the same time it is a forewarning of what is to come if humanity continues down its current path.
Why is Kids On Guns so important?
Commenting on the trivialisation of violence, Banksy illustrates two innocent young kids united against danger. The artist suggests children are surrounded by violence, be it on TV, video games or in real life, and reminds people that they need to be protected so that they don't lose their innocence too early. Other works by Banksy deal with that very same topic, like his famous Girl with Balloon or Stop and Search.
In October 2013, as part of his month long Better Out Than In exhibition, Banksy disguised himself as a typical street vendor, setting up a stall in Central Park, New York and sold various canvases including Kids On Guns for $60 a piece. The following day, Banksy announced on his website ‘Yesterday I set up a stall in the park selling 100% authentic original signed Banksy canvases. For $60 each’.
Kid On Guns was used as the cover for British rock band Blur’s album Good Song. Banksy also designed the cover for their album Think Tank, whose cover shows a couple kissing whilst wearing aqualungs.
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