On June 13, 2018, Canada will welcome The Art of Banksy to its shores. The acclaimed exhibition has already generated robust excitement in Melbourne, Amsterdam, Tel Aviv and Auckland. After beating out both Athens and Stockholm, Toronto will be the next city to showcase 80 original works by one of the most controversial artists in modern history.
Curated by Steve Lazarides, the artist’s former agent, the exhibition will no doubt be a riveting and thought-provoking art show, bringing some of Banksy’s most notable works to the city, including “Balloon Girl,” the United Kingdom’s most beloved piece of art.
For many years now, Banksy, a renowned artist and political activist who has never revealed his identity, has left the world in awe with his signature graffiti-influenced stencil technique and anti-establishment slogans. What little is known of him has neither been confirmed nor denied. In addition to paintings, he has been known to create sculptures and special displays. Banksy’s street art can be discovered all over the world—if only until it’s been painted over, vandalized or stolen from walls to sell at auctions.
After gaining notoriety with his street art in Bristol when he emerged during the early 1990s, he made his way to London in 1999. He then began to travel the world, leaving his unique work in various places. Whether it be city walls, on bridges, the façades of buildings or streets, his art always garners a lot of interest and attention. Apart from England, Banksy’s infamous work can be seen in the United States, Australia, Israel, Palestine and Mali.
At one time, Toronto was home to seven Banksy creations, but over the years, they were left unrecognizable by local graffiti artists or painted over. Now, only two remain. One is a security guard clutching the leash of a muzzled pink balloon dog, which is now a public piece of art on display in the PATH, the city’s pedestrian walkway by One York Street. The other can be found preserved behind plexiglass in an alley near Church Street and The Esplanade.
The works featured in The Art of Banksy will be mounted in a raw space at 213 Sterling Road (Lansdowne Metro stop). The Junction area is already a hotbed for artistic activity and a burgeoning neighborhood for art and contemporary art, and soon to be the new location for the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA).
Worldwide demand for The Art of Banksy is off the charts. As such, the exhibit is scheduled to be in Toronto for just four weeks. This once-in-a-lifetime chance to see the mysterious artist’s work is not to be missed. Valued at over $35 million, this prestigious collection of originals—all privately owned—offers a rare opportunity for the city to enter Banksy’s world.
“This is a one-of-a-kind exhibition. You will never again have the opportunity to see this many of Banksy’s works in one place. Once the exhibition is over, the artwork will be returned to art collectors around the world, and the chances that they will be displayed together again in the future are extremely slim,” says Steve Lazarides.
Come face to face with the elusive artist’s dark humor and political critique by witnessing his provocative work for yourself. The Art of Banksy will be showing from June 13 until July 11, 2018, exclusively at 213 Sterling Road. For tickets and more information, visit www.banksyexhibit.com.