Love Is In The Air (Flower Thrower) Banksy
Love Is In The Air, also known as the Flower Thrower or LIITA, first appeared in 2003 as a large format stencilled graffiti in Jerusalem shortly after the construction of the West Bank Wall. The graffiti was made on the 760km wall that separates the Palestine from Israel, a wall which, in Banksy’s own words “essentially turns Palestine into the world’s largest open prison”. The wall rapidly became a giant canvas for paintings and writings protesting against its construction. Banksy returned there in 2005 to paint a series of nine provocative works supporting freedom and equality. He later intervened in Gaza in 2015 where he painted four new pieces amongst the ruins of a bombed city with the intention of highlighting the plight of the people living in the Gaza Strip.
Love Is In The Air is undoubtedly one of Banksy’s most iconic and most sought-after works of art, which has been reproduced on posters, phone covers, T-shirts and other merchandise all over the world. The image also featured on the cover of Banksy’s famous book Wall and Piece in 2005. Since its creation, the artist has created several versions of the stencil on canvas, and it was released as a print on the red background with an edition of 150 Love Is In The Air (Flower Thrower) signed prints and 500 unsigned prints.
Love Is In The Air depicts a young man, dressed as a militant wearing a baseball cap and a bandana to mask the lower half of his face, in the middle of a grenade throw. The character is rendered in Banksy’s characteristic black and white signature stencil, against an intense block red background. However, the artist adds an inevitable twist, replacing the figure’s weapon with a bunch of flowers.
The image exemplifies both Banksy's formal artistic style as well as his powerful political activism, reminiscent of images from the 1960s campus and street riots that rocked the United States and the United Kingdom during the Vietnam War. Despite the overt anger and aggression in the protagonist’s posture, the figure prepares to launch a universal symbol of love and peace as opposed to a weapon. It represents a call for peace, delivered with the same explosive force as a grenade. Originally painted in a conflict-ridden area in Jerusalem, the mural directly addressed the authorities in Banksy’s campaign for peace in the city. The figure of the flower throwing protestor adopts a stand against the violence of war.