The 58th Venice Biennale is currently in full swing, with throngs of tourists and art enthusiasts flooding into the city for the legendary fair. Thanks to a video posted on his Instagram page, it now seems that Banksy was also secretly in attendance.
In the video, we see a man (face obscured, obviously) setting up a stall in the city’s famous St. Mark’s Square with a series of canvas paintings. Combining as the cleverly titled Venice in Oil, the works depict a large cruise ship dwarfing the Venetian canals and traditional gondolas beneath. As tourists stop to look at the paintings, the man is moved on by local police for not having a permit.
Posted with the caption, “Despite being the largest and most prestigious art event in the world, for some reason I’ve never been invited”, the paintings allude to the controversy around large cruise ships travelling to the city and parking in the historic centre. A primary source of the tension between locals and tourists, the ships are both damaging to the environment and the city’s incredible scenery. Last year Italy’s government did announce that giant cruise ships will be banned from the city centre, however it will take four years to implement the changes, with the new route to be in place by 2022.