Photos of British artist Banksy’s work has been displayed in Bethlehem for an event thanking him for his support for Palestinian rights, while in Gaza ‘Thank you Banksy’ was written in giant letters into the Strip’s sandy beach.
The Bristol-based artist last month raised £2.2 million for new equipment in Bethlehem’s hospital by selling three paintings, and Palestinians this week said they wanted him to know they were grateful.
Banksy’s Walled Off Hotel, marketed as having “the worst view in the world,” is located alongside the Israeli-built security barrier in Bethlehem, and has given the city a tourism boost, with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas visiting earlier this year.
This week photos of 20 Banksy pieces were displayed in the centre of Bethlehem alongside images were collated by Palestinian photographers for the surprise exhibition in Manger Square. Visitors were given facemasks with Banksy images.
At the same time in Gaza, where there are four of Banksy’s artworks, local artists carved the words ‘Thank you Banksy’ into a stretch of sandy beach.
The British artist, whose identity remains a mystery, has spray-painted the security barrier several times, earning the respect of locals, because doing so is forbidden.