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One of the most influential figures in contemporary street art remains a mystery. For more than two decades, Banksy has shone with his talent, teasing, pushing and provoking. His art is a sometimes accusatory and sometimes mocking reflection of our society. He directs it with a masterful hand and continues to fuel speculation about his identity.
These are only assumptions, but it is believed that Banksy was born in Bristol, Britain, in 1974. His real name would be Robert Banks, or Robin Gunningham. His first steps would have been in a graffiti group, the DryBreadZ in Bristol. Already in 1998, he participated in graffiti festivals, creating the mural The Mild Mild West. In 2004, he produced his first controversial work, the counterfeit bills with the effigy of Lady Di, which were scattered during the carnival in Notting Hill. The following year, he made his way onto the walls of the world's major museums such as the MoMa, Tate Britain and the Louvre, where he installed his own works.
His favourite medium is still stencil. He has an incisive look at consumer society, politics and the military sphere. Always in search of new themes and new exhibition spaces, Banksy brings to Disneyland an inflatable doll, dressed in the same clothes as the Guantanamo prisoners. He also painted on the Bethlehem Wall in support of the Palestinians, including the famous mural of the young Vietnamese woman burned with napalm holding the hands of Mickey Mouse and Ronald McDonald.
In addition to painting, Banksy also excels in directing. In fact, the film Faites le mur! released in 2010 will be nominated for an Oscar for best documentary, and will be presented at the Sundance Film Festival.
Categorically refusing to participate in capitalism, Banksy regrets that some of his works have been stolen and sold at auction. In 2013, he seized a booth in Central Park, where he sold some of his works for $60 each, when they were estimated at $160,000.