Banksy’s newest work is neither a snide jab at politicians nor a big “fuck you” to the police — instead, it’s a gesture of gratitude to children at a school in Bristol.
As the Guardian reported, teachers at Bridge Farm Primary returning from half-term break discovered a mural painted on a wall of a school house along with a note signed by the elusive street artist. The institution had recently named one of its four houses after Banksy as per their students’ suggestion to honor him. To inform him of the christening, they had penned a letter to him and sent it before Easter.
Banksy’s own hand-scrawled message reads, “Dear Bridge Farm School, Thank you for your letter and naming a house after me. Please have a picture.
“If you don’t like it feel free to add stuff, I’m sure the teachers won’t mind. Remember — Its [sic] always easier to get forgiveness than permission.”
The image depicts a stick figure girl rolling a hoop away from her house and towards a flower — both drawn simply, as a young crayon-wielder might — except here, the hoop is a flaming tire, rendered in Banksy’s typical style. A spokesperson from the British artist’s authentication team, Pest Control, has confirmed that the work, which is signed, is genuine (an image of it is also posted to Banksy’s official Instagram account). The school intends to preserve the mural, with headteacher Geoff Mason describing it as “inspirational and aspirational.”
Any of the children’s inspired creations, however, will have to be executed elsewhere. Despite Banksy’s own invitation to collaborate, Mason is reportedly not allowing students to add their own flourishes to the mural — perhaps recognizing its monetary value if it’s ever sold.