Produced on a wall in the East End of London, this Banksy image of a young girl hugging a bomb is a stunningly satirical stencil. Banksy has ridiculed violence and war in this image with how innocently he has depicted the girl, with a ponytail, young features and a skirt. When shown with a military-style bomb in her small arms, the juxtaposition emphasizes the true nature of war rather than the romanticised, glorified version that the media shows us.
The Banksy image is a challenge to the media to try to advertise war as a positive thing, by inferring that peace and freedom should be promoted in the face of tyranny and violence. In Banksy’s book “Wall and Piece” the image is accompanied by the caption:
“It takes a lot of guts to stand up anonymously in a western democracy and call for things no-one else believes in – like peace and justice and freedom.”
The other meaning that the image implies is that love and peace could overwhelm the hatred and violence in the world. A small innocent girl is hugging a bomb, the universal symbol of war and violence, there is such a strong message behind this that we should be more loving and peaceful as children are, a message that Banksy has used that reflects a very Christian meaning.
The potency of this Banksy image is really striking, and I personally think that this image is an original idea, done for a purpose and with meaning and to send a message to whoever sees it, by a person with talent and a passion to share their beliefs, and therefore, to me this is art rather than vandalism. The fact that this image has been painted with spray paints on a wall, shows a challenge again, in itself, to the society that deems that illegal when dropping bombs and using violence as a way to solve problems is perfectly acceptable.