Why Banksy painted new murals at the Barbican

Banksy, Barbican, Basquiat


By Su Fen Tan

Why Banksy painted new murals at the Barbican

If you’ve been to Central London just recently, perhaps you would have caught a sight of the two murals right outside the Barbican Centre, on the corner of Golden Lane and Beech Street. Banksy confirmed his work on Instagram, along with captions to explain the new murals:

“Major new Basquiat show opens at the Barbican – a place that is normally very keen to clean any graffiti from its walls.”

A post shared by Banksy (@banksy) on


“Portrait of Basquiat being welcomed by the Metropolitan Police – an (unofficial) collaboration with the new Basquiat show.”

A post shared by Banksy (@banksy) on


Both murals reference Jean-Michel Basquiat’s works—the ferris wheel one features Basquiat’s iconic crown symbol, while the figure being searched by police officers references the artist’s 1982 work Boy and Dog in a Johnnypump.


The murals popped up just days before an exhibition of the work of Basquiat—the late American artist who rose to fame in the late 1970s as one half of the graffiti duo SAMO—is set to take place the Barbican Art Gallery. The career-retrospective exhibition titled ‘Basquait: Boom for Real’ opens tomorrow, 21 September, and will run till 28 January 2018.


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