Banksy in Great Yarmouth

Great Yarmouth: home of golden sands, the famous Pleasure Beach, the Time and Tide Museum. Oh, and now multiple works of art by the world-famous artist Banksy. That’s right, Banksy has been hard at work just down the road, and it’s not just Great Yarmouth – Cromer, Lowestoft, Gorleston and Oulton Broad were also places the artist visited while on what he coined his ‘Great British Staycation’.

Three different murals by the artist were unveiled at the beginning of August in Great Yarmouth. The first, located above a bus stop, illustrates a couple dancing to the music of a man playing an accordion. The second displays a rat painted on the side of a small model house next to the words “Go big or go home”. The final mural, which has actually now been removed by the local council as a sign of ‘sensitivity’ to a nearby death in the area, illustrated two children on an inflatable dinghy blowing in the wind.

All of the works in Great Yarmouth evoke qualities that are typical of the street artist. Filled with tongue in cheek humour, every work is bold in style and has been crafted using expertly configured stencils and spray paint. The range of monochromatic tones make the work stand out from the walls they have been very specifically placed on, no doubt causing everyone who walks past to take a look.

As always with a Banksy piece, along with the humorous aspect to his work, there is also a deeper meaning to everything that is created. Some have suggested that the dancing figures on top of the bus stop are actually in reference to our new-found freedom after Covid. Others have pointed out that the music players’ downcast expression could be representative of how others often reap the rewards of hard work in our society. Maybe the work was created for another reason entirely, we’ll never know. That’s the beauty of Banksy’s work, it is available for all to make up their own mind as to what It might mean – if anything at all.

There is one undoubtable consequence to Banksy’s visit to the region – his recent presence has been a great addition to the culture of our surrounding area. Those that live nearby have been treated to living alongside some world-class art, meanwhile businesses have been able to take advantage of the mass of tourists who are wanting to get a glimpse of a Banksy work. After all, who wouldn’t want their streets to become a bit more cheerful?

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Elizabeth Woor

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May 2022
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