The Art of Banksy Opens in Toronto with Prevously Unseen Mona Lisa

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Danger Monkey Pregnant by Banksy is a spoof of the Demi Moore photo that was on the cover of Vanity Fair.
Danger Monkey Pregnant by Banksy

The Art of Banksy opens in Toronto on May 29, 2024 and Torontonicity was invited to the preview and party on May 28, 2024 at Lighthouse Artscape. The unauthorized exhibit, featuring the works of global-renown street artist Banksy, features over 140 pieces – the largest ever collection of the artist’s works. Many of these works are on loan from private collections, including Banksy’s re-rendering of da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, which is owned by Brad Pitt.

Banksy’s identity is unofficially unknown, although there has been a large degree of speculation, including the strong possibility that the artist is actually Robin Gunningham, born in Bristol, England in the early 1970s.

The highlight of this exhibit is certainly Banksy’s Mona Lisa. The artist has reworked the original Mona Lisa so that the famous woman’s expression is almost surly.

A previously shown work is the original Flower Thrower where a masked man is throwing a bouquet of flowers. The work was inspired by photos of anti-war protesters during the 60s: this is one of Banksy’s most famous works.

Standing in front of Queen Vic at The Art of Banksy in Toronto
Standing in front of Queen Vic at The Art of Banksy in Toronto

Previously shown and popular works include Girl With Balloon and Rude Copper, in which two policeman kiss, revealing Banksy’ support for the LGBTQIA rights.

Although all the works displayed are stimulating, some of the works that were exceptionally thought-provoking for me include:

Christ with Shopping Bags by Banksy reflects the artist's sentiment that the true meaning of Christmas is being overridden by consumerism.
Christ with Shopping Bags by Banksy

Christ with Shopping Bags – This screen print is a blistering critique of the modern-day tendency to worship gift-giving rather than the true meaning of Christmas.

Napalm – This screen print shows the famous South Vietnamese girl running after being burned by a Napalm attack. Banksy’s powerful critique pairs her with icons Ronald McDonald and Mickey Mouse to highlight the financial exploitation of victims of the Vietnam War (and war in general) by corporate and global interests.

Danger Monkey Pregnant by Banksy is a spoof of the Demi Moore photo that was on the cover of Vanity Fair.
Danger Monkey Pregnant by Banksy

Danger Monkey Pregnant – A spoof of the Demi Moore painting that appeared on the cover of Vanity Fair. In the Annie Leibovitz photo, the actress is nude (with hands strategically placed) while pregnant with her second child. Banksy changes the face to that of a monkey. At the very least, this painting is a criticism of exploiting motherhood for money.

Toxic Mary – In this screen print, the Mary is feeding the Baby Jesus with a bottle marked “Toxic”, which is another example of Banksy’s criticism of the often harmful environment of organized religion such as Christianity.

Enjoying the after party at Banksy Exhibit in Toronto
Enjoying the after party at Banksy Exhibit in Toronto

After the media preview, we joined a bustling after party to enjoy drinks and inspired hors d’oeuvres catered by Daniel et Daniel.

The Art of Banksy is currently on display at Lighthouse Artscape Toronto, 1 Yonge Street. It may be your last time to see such a large collection of the artist’s works assembled together. Tickets start at $39.99 plus tax. Purchase tickets online.

You may be interested in reading, “Where to Go Strawberry Picking near Toronto 2024“.

 

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