The political commitment of the English street artist is not news to anyone. His messages, whether written or drawn, adorn the walls of the world and his fame is well established. He is even attributed many unclaimed works. This time, Banksy clearly shows his commitment to helping migrants who find themselves in difficulty in the Mediterranean.
He has recently worked on several pieces around the issue of the migration crisis, and, as he himself said, he “could not decently agree to keep this money for himself”. He therefore proposed to an activist to use it to buy a boat and travel around the Mediterranean to help migrants in difficulty.
No day off
It is now done, since the Louise Michel, named after the French feminist anarchist activist, is afloat and has undertaken her humanist mission. An indispensable mission if ever there was one, since just yesterday, the boat would have saved some 89 people from certain death, including 14 women and 4 children.
Entirely decorated by the English artist, the Louise Michel (which can reach up to 27 knots, or 50 km/h) features pink colors, motifs evoking love (a heart-shaped buoy), and poached silhouettes (a young girl in a life jacket) very representative of Banksy’s “paw”.
A chance encounter
The boat has been afloat since August 18 and is in the hands of Pia Kemp, an experienced captain who has already managed several NGO boats. She was the first person Banksy, an admirer of her work, contacted to tell her about the project, after reading her story in the newspapers. Aware of the importance of the distribution of roles, the artist sticks to his position as a patron of the arts. “He doesn’t pretend to tell us how to run a boat, and we don’t pretend to be artists,” said Kemp.
Now the young woman and her crew are looking for a port to shelter their passengers.