Banksy, ‘Napalm’


  • Banksy
  • Napalm
  • 2004
  • Color screenprint printed on paper
  • 70 cm x 50 cm
  • Original work certified by Pest Control
  • Signed limited edition of 150
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There are various versions of Napalm in different colors: gray, orange and rainbow/multicolored; This particular piece offers the Gray Edition signed.

Banksy portrays three characters: Mickey Mouse and Ronald McDonald holding a little girl by the hand; she is Phan Thi Tim Phuc (9 years old), immortalized on June 8, 1972 by Nick Ut in the Pulitzer Prize winning photograph, during the bombing in Vietnam during the war against the United States.

With this provocative collage, Banksy analyzes two different visions of reality: he uses the combination of different icons – the girl victim of a war and two symbols of the American world – and places in the same image two points of view of knowledge of what happens in the world.

The child screams and runs, naked and fleeing the Napalm bombing; Mickey Mouse and Ronald McDonald on either side hold her hands, one smiles, the other greets. The original colors of the figures are altered and muted shades of gray are used to bring out the gloomy sense of the scene. The image is disturbing: the horror of the Vietnam war is juxtaposed with two emblems of a prosperous society based on the superficiality of monetization.

The two are icons of the USA, of economic and capitalist growth and of mass culture: Mickey Mouse is the global symbol of happiness and trust, Mr. McDonald is an icon of mass culture and American consumerism.

What’s the meaning? Is it Mickey Mouse and Mr. McDonald who are helping the little girl escape or are they accompanying her towards the end?

Napalm of Banksy is the injustice chronicle of the Vietnam War, the people of dell’ingiuria treatment Vietnam by American troops. There is no need for any slogan: we are dealing with an image that is silent in words but explosive in meaning. What in Banksy is irony and ridicule, here is transformed into disruption.

Two different points of view are put together: the everyday world that you see and know, Mickey Mouse and Ronaldo McDonald, and the world that we should know, that of the havoc of wars caused by capitalist and Western nations.

Napalm becomes the window on that world oppressed by the great powers, by their expansion and oppression. A copy of Napalm was purchased by Damien Hirst as a sign of respect and support for Banksy’s creativity and genius .

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