At Large  March 19, 2024  Rebecca Schiffman

Banksy Tree Mural Sprouts Up in North London

Banksy / Instagram

Banksy's latest mural in Islington, North London.

Over the weekend, a mural appeared on the side of a residential building in Islington in North London. After speculation surrounding who the artist was blew up on social media, Banksy claimed the work as his own by posting images on Instagram. This marks Banksy’s return to his iconic street art style and commitment to political activism since his last work in December 2023.

The mural is a mass of bright green paint that drips down the side of the building. The mural was painted behind a bare tree to look like foliage. On the bottom left, a stencil of a person holding a pressure hose stands next to it, also in green. It seems as if the stencil had pressure-sprayed the green onto the wall. The tree in question, a cherry tree, has been pruned in a method called pollarding, a yearly process done so that the tree will stay the same size.

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A post shared by Banksy (@banksy)

Before Banksy took credit for the work, many posited reasons as to why it could be his work. James Peak, host of the BBC podcast “The Banksy Story” claimed that the stencil was in classic-Banksy style, and the shade of green used to represent the leaves was the same shade that the local town, Islington, uses for its social housing signs. He commented, “If it isn’t Banksy, it’s an amazing copycat.” And after it was announced to be a Banksy, Peak concluded to the BBC, “The message is clear: Nature’s struggling and it is up to us to help grow it back.”

Whatever the message Banksy is trying to send, the local community came out to admire their new mural. A resident told the PA Media news agency “We’re so proud and delighted that Banksy chose our road and chose Finsbury Park for his work.” Another resident told The Guardian, “I’m absolutely delighted to see this on our street – I think it’s great and sends a strong message, I’d like to see more of it, to be honest, the more the merrier. I think it’s probably one of his biggest pieces in a while - and the fact he’s done it on the wall means it can’t just be stolen or easily removed.”

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