Bansky: Girl Frisking Soldier

“Banksy’s decorations of the West Bank barrier are widely held up as a genuine expression of political activism in support of both ‘the Palestinians’ and the advancement of  human rights.”

-Koensler, Papa 13

Banksy: Girl Frisking Soldier
Banksy: Girl Frisking Soldier

This image, created by Banksy in 2007 and located on the West Wall of Bethlehem, subverts expectations. The soldier is being frisked by a little girl, rather than the other way around. It is impossible not to realize that the reverse of this image is a more realistic occurrence in Palestine. Banksy manages to portray a controversial idea, children being persecuted, without showing the image of the girl being frisked. Additionally, the image shows how people dehumanize one another, by viewing each other only as threats. As Koensler and Papa write, “Palestine is now the biggest open-air prison of the world” (13). This image demonstrates the limited freedom of Palestinians with role reversal, confronting the audience with a disturbing image of child as persecutor.

As with “The Petrol Bomber” and “The Death of Innocence,” a child is being used to symbolize innocence and vulnerability. The girl even has braided hair, representing youthful innocence, and her pink dress contrasts with the olive green uniform of the soldier. The gun lying next her represents violence and aggression.
Unlike the murals created by the Bogside Artists, Banksy is an outsider of the struggle he is commenting on. The Bogside Artists live in Ireland and experienced the Troubles first hand. Their art is personal, at time representing individuals they know, and often portraying members of the community. Banksy, while doing important work by bringing public and international attention to the conflict in Palestine, does not have this personal connection with the community. His work is less about representing what the community is feeling, less about feeling pain in a constructive way, and more about publicity.


Political Murals of Bogside and Palestine

Use of Children in Political Murals


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