A new bold and evocative public work of art from Banksy
Banksy Scaled the Prison That Once Jailed Oscar Wilde to Paint His Latest Mural, by Sarah Rose Sharp, Hyperalleric.com, March 5, 2021
Banksy confirmed the artwork in a clever video stitched together with a Bob Ross tutorial.
Blockbuster street artist Banksy has laid claim to his latest work of public art — an olde tyme prison escape stenciled on the wall of the defunct HM Reading Prison in Reading, Berkshire, England. The prison, also known as Reading Gaol, was built in 1844 and operated until early 2014. Until this week, it was perhaps most famous for housing writer Oscar Wilde during a two-year imprisonment (1895-1897) after a conviction for “gross indecency.” Following his release, Wilde published The Ballad of Reading Gaol, a poem that narrates the 1896 hanging of Charles Thomas Woodridge, convicted of murdering his wife.
The Banksy mural features a figure in prison stripes and a cap. He appears to be climbing down the exterior brick wall on a rope ladder instead of a ream of paper, anchored by a typewriter. The image is likely an allusion to Wilde as Reading’s famous inmate and his subsequent poetic work that both documents Woodridge’s hanging while also identifying with him as a fellow prisoner.
The artist left his work open to speculation for a few days before taking to Instagram with a video documenting the mural’s clandestine application, with narration supplemented by overlay from Bob Ross’s famous public access painting program, The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross. The audio selections first seem to merely narrate the creation of the mural, details of which are captured in the tight halo of the artist’s headlamp, but once we cut to shots of the mural in full view the following day, the audio clips telegraph the artist’s statement on the work. Read the whole article here.