Banksy’s true identity may be a well-kept secret, but his movements are far less clandestine. When the street artist provocateur comes to New York, say, or the London Olympics, he cuts a well-publicized swath. Banksy’s latest journey has taken him to Gaza, and so of course there’s a memento mori from this visit–one that takes a satirical, sympathetic look at the plight of Palestinians.
Each viewer’s ideology regarding the Israel/Palestine conflict will color their thoughts on the video, entitled Make This the Year YOU Discover a New Destination. The destination in question is Gaza, and as the blandly invitational title implies, this video is a faux tourism brochure in motion. It’s propaganda punctuated by antithetical annotations. The Gaza depicted here is a place nobody would actually want to travel to, Banksy excepted. And that’s the point.
Each line of tourism-promoting ad copy in the video is followed by a breakdown of the truth behind the euphemism. No matter what the Palestinian people did to arrive here, this is what life is currently like on their side of the conflict. In the video, the travel selling point, “Well away from the tourist track,” has a parenthetical about the illegal tunnels required for traversing the city, and accompanying footage. “Watched over by friendly neighbors” is followed by a caption revealing that, “In 2014, Operation Protective Edge destroyed 18,000 homes.” Scored by the East Flatbush Project song, “Tried By 12,” the video also features some familiar Banksy-like silhouettes in the rubble to show what else the artist has been up to.
Make This the Year was preceded by this new image posted to Banksy’s official Instagram account early on Wednesday. (It makes an appearance in the video at the 1:13 mark.) More images from this Gaza visit are up at his website, showing off new artwork juxtaposed with lots of wreckage. If Banksy’s previous travels are any indication, this isn’t the last we’ll see of his stamp on the region.