Banksy in Ukraine – graffiti on buildings destroyed by shelling

Banksy in Ukraine. A boy and a judoka

Have you ever heard of the legendary anonymous artist from Britain? His paintings on social themes become masterpieces, even though they are painted with ordinary paints, and the canvases for them are ordinary houses and streets.

In November 2022, Banksy showed up in belligerent Ukraine during the Russian invasion. He drew and then acknowledged seven drawings in Kiev and the Kiev region.

I will talk about my emotions and associations about Banksy’s work in Ukraine.

The judoka lost the fight

A judo boy throws a man in a kimono. I immediately recognized him as the organizer and inspirer of the aggression against Ukraine. This man loves judo and loves to win. To me, the little boy is Ukraine, which should have lost to Putin.

Banksy in Ukraine. A boy and a judoka
A boy and a judoka. Photo from

But, as it turned out, he would soon be defeated by it himself.

Gymnast from Borodyanka

Locals notice some man stenciling a drawing on the wall of a ruined house. A few days later it would turn out to be Britain’s most famous mystery artist.

A gymnast stands with her head down on her hands at the junction of two slabs of a collapsed apartment building. She rests her hands on the ruins.

Gymnast from Borodyanka. Banksy
Gymnast from Borodyanka. Banksy.

It’s illogical, but the ruins give her the strength to fight. After all, these are “her” ruins.

Borodyanka is located north of Kiev and was attacked by Russian aircraft from the first days. There is not a single surviving building in the village after the enemy army left.

A gymnast from Borodyanka is the first work this year for which Banksy has “taken responsibility”.

Swinging the czech hedgehog

Children who ride The Czech hedgehog as if on a swing are in the center of Kiev.

The Alley of Heroes of the Heavenly Hundred, adjacent to Independence Square, still has concrete slabs and anti-tank urchins. Now children ride on them.

Indeed, for hundreds of thousands of children in Ukraine air-raid alarms, shelling, playing war and “occupants,” and building improvised checkpoints for Ukrainian Armed Forces have become commonplace. It is sad, because children should not play like that.

banksy in ukraine. czech hedgehog and children
Czech hedgehog and children. Photo

And the summer of 2022 was definitely taken from them at the whim of one man.

Rhythmic gymnastics in war

A girl with a ribbon, most likely rhythmic gymnastics, stands on the edge of a precipice (a hole in the wall of a house) and performs a number with a ribbon. Her neck is broken, but she still entered the arena and fights, because if she loses, she will not be forgiven for her mistake. 

Banksy in Ukraine. Irpyn

Don’t you recognize anyone?

Cleanliness on the ruins

It used to be the wall of a residential apartment, but now a bathtub with an old man washing it is painted there. The war will end, and one must be clean to greet victory. Moreover, the enemies of Ukraine are not too fond of order and cleanliness.

Banksy in Ukraine. Bathroom
Banksy. Bathroom in Ukraine. Photo

It’s like two parallel worlds – those who are neat and tidy in time of war and those who live in filth even in peacetime, always. 

Ukrainian housewife

This is how, when the enemy comes to your home, everyone – women, children and even the elderly – has to defend themselves. The thin and delicate girl, the keeper of the home, took a fire extinguisher and a gas mask to protect her home from Russian bombs.

Banksy. Ukrainian housewife
Ukrainian housewife. Banksy. Photo

And nothing that curlers – beauty is unstoppable!

Stop war

This drawing on the facade of one of the houses is very similar to a launcher with… something resembling male genitalia. Yes, this is a Russian weapon…

What they came to Ukraine with and what they will get in the end.

Banksy’s drawing was stolen!

It’s no secret that Banksy’s works can cost hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars. Here and the artist’s creations in Ukraine are estimated from 1 to $10 million. In this situation, the drawing on the street is a very tidbit, especially in Ukraine.

On December 2, 2022 it became known that a drawing of a woman with a fire extinguisher was stolen. They simply cut off the insulation on which it was drawn. Fortunately suspicious activity was noticed by local residents and called the police.

The thieves didn’t go far and after a couple of hours they gave a statement to the police, and the painting became evidence:)

Trial of a Banksy thief in Gostomel

In early January 2023, the name of the kidnapper became known: Sergey Dolgiy. The man and his seven assistants were detained by police while hiding the graffiti cut from the wall in a car. The cost of this graffiti is estimated at 244 thousand dollars (9 million hryvnia). The court released him on personal recognizance while the investigation is ongoing. Long is facing a 12-year sentence for grand larceny, especially during martial law.

Becksy became a Ukrainian?

Not long after the attempted theft of the painting, the authorities of Irpen made an unusual statement – they awarded the artist the title “Honorary Citizen of the City”. The decision is certainly controversial, but positive and cheerful, inspiring optimism!

Banksy became an honorary citizen of Irpin
Banksy honorary citizen of Irpin

Banksy drawings are deteriorating in Ukraine. What will happen to them?

In January 2023 the Minister of Culture of Ukraine Alexander Tkachenko said that the options of preserving Banksy’s graffiti in Ukraine are being considered.

The thing is that the drawings are threatened not only by looters. They are in the open air and gradually deteriorate. For example, a judoka in Borodyanka is deteriorating – he is left without a leg (January 2023).

So far, the minister has not specified exactly how the drawings will be taken care of. The issue is being discussed both at the state and local level. Perhaps they will be mothballed or moved to a museum. In Kiev, they have already placed one drawing under glass.

Earlier the mayor of Borodyanka expressed the opinion that the picture should be dismantled and moved to a museum for preservation.

Jenya Travels

My name is Jenya. I travel around Ukraine and the world and tell stories.
In simple language, without nerdiness and dry facts - interesting about uninteresting places.
I have been to more than 100 places on the map!

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