BETHLEHEM – Late one night at the beginning of February, Banksy installed a new art piece in the lobby The Walled Off Hotel in the West Bank. The hotel, which opened in early 2017, brags of the “worst view in the world,” as it overlooks a section of the 400-mile barrier that separates Israel and Palestine.
Banksy’s newest concrete piece is a replica of the barrier and hangs in the lobby, opposite the reception area.
The striking piece features an image of a young girl playing with a wooden toy with holes of different shapes. On the ground near the toy are colorful blocks in the shapes of their corresponding holes. On closer inspection, some of block shapes are significant: the blue block is a Star of David and the yellow block is the symbol of the cross.
In her tiny hand, the girl clasps a pink mallet and looks through a heart-shaped hole in the replica barrier wall. Of note, only the blocks and the mallet are in color, where the rest of the piece is a washed out black and white.
Banksy’s work, especially in The Walled Off Hotel, has been referred to by some as “creative activism.” He has worked in Bethlehem for some time, showcasing the now-famous “Girl and a Soldier” piece.
Despite its highly unusual location, the hotel appears to offer sanctuary to travelers, who stay in one of the nine Banksy-designed rooms.
The latest piece in the hotel’s lobby continues Banksy’s creative activism, making passersby stop in their tracks and consider what may lay beyond the wall.
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