BANKSY, Gold Flag , 2008, Screen print on paper, 29/112 50cm x 70 cm.

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Lot 92AR
BANKSY
(born 1975)
Gold Flag, 2007

Sold for £ 72,562 (US$ 101,343) inc. premium
BANKSY (born 1975)
Gold Flag, 2007
signed in black felt-tip pen, numbered 29/112 on the reverse
screenprint on gold Chromalux paper
50 x 70cm (19 11/16 x 27 9/16in).
with the publisher's blindstamp, Pictures on Walls, London

Footnotes

  • This work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity issued by Pest Control Office.

    Banksy, known for engaging with the political and social issues of the day, regularly uses his art to critique modern ideas inherent in our society.
    His satirical and often dark humour touches on key themes including; war, class, consumerism, capitalism and imperialism. In Gold Flag, Banksy directly references Joe Rosenthal's renowned photograph of U.S Soldiers raising the American Flag after seizing the island of Iwo Jima on Mount Suribachi on 9th February, 1945.

    The photograph, captured during world war II, won the Pulitzer Prize for Photography and was later used by sculptor, Felix de Wildon, to create the life-sized War Memorial in Virginia dedicated to all US marines who lost their lives serving their country. In Gold Flag, however, Banksy replaces the patriotic soldiers with a group of urban kids who clamber up and stand victoriously over a dilapidated car. The seizure of the prized hillside in Japan is replaced with the reclamation of a burned-out vehicle. The two girls, who proudly brandish the American flag over the car, are highlighted against a golden orb in what seems to be a world without adults.

    Banksy released Flags in two colours; editions of both gold and silver. The source of colour, often referred to as the sun or the moon, frames the children in an otherwise black deserted landscape. By using one singular colour, in this case gold on smooth wove metallic paper, the stark contrast creates a haunting and melancholy scene around the rebel children.

    Children are often a central motif in Banksy's work, used to symbolise the future as well as the severity of the issues being addressed. In Gold Flag, like in much of Banksy's art, its context is open to interpretation with some speculating that the children represent America's youth, still ambitious to achieve the 'American Dream'. Others suggest it might be a comment on the amount of money spent on war, leaving millions of men, women and children unsupported in ghettos or even a nod to the moon landing. Banksy, who once described his art as a form of underclass "revenge" that allows power to be taken from the elite and given to the individual, once again leaves it up to the viewer to decide its meaning.
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