Banksy is back.
Infamous British graffiti-artist Banksy has confirmed the creation of seven murals in Ukraine, spanning several locations, from Kyiv, to Irpin, and Borodyanka.
Prior to his official confirmation on Instagram over the weekend, there has been mounting online speculation on whether the stencil works belonged to the anonymous artist.
One mural in Borodyanka, initially appearing on photojournalist @edr4m’s Instagram, depicts a child throwing a man onto the floor in a Judo match. The man bears resemblance to Russian president Vladimir Putin, who is a notable admirer of the sport and holds a black belt - this was later revoked by the International Judo Federation in March following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
A second piece shows two children using a metal tank trap as a seesaw spray-painted onto a concrete defensive block in Kyiv, a third mural depicts a gymnast doing a handstand on the ruins of a bombed building.
Four additional works were confirmed by Banksy. They include a man taking a bath on the exposed wall of a destroyed building; a woman in hair curlers wearing a gas mask and holding a fire extinguisher; a gymnast in a neck brace performing a ribbon routine; and another in which we see the graffiti of a penis, loaded on the back of an armoured truck making it look like a missile.
Borodyanka, Irpin, and Bucha were some of the places hardest hit by Russian airstrikes and fighting in the first few weeks of conflict. There have been widespread calls for investigations into alleged Russian war crimes in these regions, following horrific discoveries of mass civilian graves in Borodyanka, a town just northwest of Kyiv.
These new murals are Banksy’s first public works in over a year.