Banksy’s latest surprise work at Glastonbury doesn’t please the British government

Banksy’s latest surprise work at Glastonbury doesn’t please the British government
Banksy’s latest surprise work at Glastonbury doesn’t please the British government

Glastonbury, Friday 28th June. The international music and performing arts festival, which this year hosted Dua Lipa, Coldplay and Avril Lavigne, is in full swing. During the concert by the rock group Idles, a strange spectacle took place in the crowd.

An inflatable boat containing dolls was thrown at the audience. The perfect representation of a boat of migrants sailing hand in hand above the spectators. The festival-goers initially thought it was part of the show, but one of the group’s representatives announced on Saturday that it was a work by Banksy. The artists were not informed of the performance until the end of their concert.

Banksy himself later claimed the work in an Instagram post, as is his wont. The boat was launched to the song “Danny Nedelko”, the lyrics of which begin: “My blood brother is an immigrant/A handsome immigrant/My blood brother is Freddie Mercury/A Nigerian mother of three/He’s made of bone, he’s made of blood/He’s made of flesh, he’s made of love/He’s made of you, he’s made of me/Unity/Fear leads to panic, panic leads to pain/Pain leads to anger, anger leads to hate.”

The boat was also spotted during rapper Little Simz’s concert the following day.

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While the British Prime Minister is pursuing a tough immigration policy, Banksy’s installation has provoked strong reactions among the government.“There’s a group of people here joking and celebrating criminal acts that cost lives. People are dying. They’re dying in the Mediterranean, they’re dying in the English Channel. It’s not funny. It’s disgusting.”Home Secretary James Cleverly told the BBC.

Yet, as the English press has pointed out, the work in question can denounce the deadly migration policy led by the Conservative Party. Rishi Sunak has passed a law on an agreement to deport illegal asylum seekers arriving via the Channel to Rwanda.

8,500 dead: 2023 was the deadliest year of the decade for migrants

Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden also made a similar comment on Times Radio: “Look at what happens to the men, women and children who are pushed onto these rubber dinghies. The criminal gangs only fill them half full of petrol, so they run out of fuel half way across the Channel and start to sink, putting people’s lives at risk. I don’t think this is a joke at Glastonbury.

Migration is a major theme at this year’s Glastonbury Festival. It’s also a theme close to the artist’s heart. In 2018, he chartered a ship, the Louise Michel, to rescue migrants in the Mediterranean. The boat set sail again just as Banksy unveiled his work.

This isn’t the first time Banksy has made a splash at Glastonbury. The street artist created the Union Jack-coloured bulletproof vest worn by Stormzy in 2019. In 2014, he drove around a van full of stuffed animals to protest factory farming.

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