Queen Vic appeared for the first time on the walls of the streets of Bristol and was later reproduced in 500 copies.
Banksy portrays the severe Queen Victoria in the act of ” queening “: the pun ironicizes the queen’s intransigence on social issues in portraying her in a sapphic sexual pose. For this work Banksy is inspired by the queen herself’s statement that women “could not be homosexuals”. The artist refers to those antigay and homophobic laws that the monarch had proclaimed to support her conservative belief.
He portrays her with a scepter and crown, but also with leather boots with heels, a skirt and a garter, to highlight the gap between nobility and worldliness. His partner also wears provocative clothes and keeps her arms on the ground signaling complete submission. The stencil also plays on colors. It comes in black and white tones in contrast with the royal red background: the gap is between the meaning of the figures and that of the purple color.
The meaning is clearly provocative: Queen Victoria has gone down in history as a figure of the greatest moment of mental and social closure and in the work she becomes a symbol to fight against. Banksy’s battle is against capitalism, politics and greed; its subversive nature is reflected in the way it chooses to denounce all this, with Street Art.
Starting from a classic image like that of Queen Victoria, recognizable to all, he distorts it and creates something that goes against the same meaning of the monarch itself, the morality that wins over freedom. The contrast of meaning is the focus of the work: Queen Vic is the representation of the dualistic mentality of the society in which we live, which does not allow us to be free as we would like, but imposes itself on our lives without first respecting its own rules.
Satire is the means for Banksy’s message : denouncing an autocratic and at the same time ignorant system and a society that – we would say – “preaches well, but scratches badly”. The work is in full Banksy style: the image is striking, it gets straight to the point without the need for words. A picture mute in words but deafening in meaning.
The search for social justice is always the sentiment that animates Banksy , for this reason his canvases are the walls of the streets where people pass, as if the movement started from where it should come from.