Toxic Mary Banksy
Toxic Mary first appeared in London in 2003, as a black and white graffitied image a woman cradling a baby, feeding it from a yellow coloured bottle marked with the skull of ‘poison’. The woman is a likeness of the Virgin Mary, and the baby represents Jesus Christ. The print was exhibited first of all in Dalston as part of the Turf Wars exhibition. As a Banksy art, this piece is well-known and is regularly in demand; its relatively low edition size contributes to its desirability – there are just 150 Toxic Mary signed prints and 600 unsigned prints. This is a bold and controversial piece of artwork by Banksy, which certainly offended Catholics and Christians with its insinuation that religion is a poison passed from family member to family member, from person to person. It is also thought that Toxic Mary could be Banksy tackling the idea of toxicity within families, suggesting that we should consider more carefully how younger generations are treated, how we nuture and take care of our children. In the artwork, paint appears to be dripping across the piece, as though the subjects are slowly fading away, becoming less and less relevant.