Banksy arrives in the Jewellery Quarter to deliver heartfelt message
Jewellery Quarter Banksy – Christmas Giving!
Picture a bitterly cold, wintry December afternoon in inner city Birmingham: As the Christmas shoppers pull their coats a little tighter and commuters brace themselves against the brisk wind, the delightful Jewellery Quarter has received its first Christmas present – from Banksy himself. And what a spectacular Christmas present it is.
Installed three days prior, it wasn’t until the afternoon of Monday 9th December that Banksy confirmed via a heart wrenching video on his official Instagram account that the artwork was, in fact, his.
The video – which has now amounted to more than 3,100,000 views – depicts a homeless man named Ryan, as he lies down on a city bench, using his bags and belongings as pillows. The camera then pans out to reveal two white reindeer, pulling his makeshift sleigh away into the Birmingham night sky. The video is captioned “God bless Birmingham”, an acknowledgement of the kindness shown by the members of the Birmingham community who, whilst the video was being filmed, stopped to give Ryan a hot drink, some chocolate and a lighter.
Banksy’s latest work is located on the iconic Vyse Street, in the heart of Birmingham’s vibrant Jewellery District. The easiest way to view the artwork is to visit the area by train. As you exit the train station, take an immediate left and the artwork can be seen dominating the railway bridge wall.
Already being called the Jewellery Quarter Banksy or the Reindeer Banksy, this masterpiece is now enclosed by the securing of a Perspex box, due to a very quick – and unfortunate – defacing on Monday evening.
Within hours of Banksy confirming his Christmas work, the two reindeer gained a pair of red noses. Whilst it’s not unusual for Banksy pieces to be defaced or ‘modified’, the fact that this took less than a few hours left both fans of the artwork and members of the community shocked.
Luke Crane, Executive Director of the Jewellery Quarter Business Improvement District (JQBID), commented “This piece of art by Banksy is an early Christmas gift. Not just for the Jewellery Quarter, but for the city of Birmingham. And this gift brings with it a very strong message – a timely reminder that we are facing a nationwide homelessness crisis and we must not forget those in need, especially over the Christmas period.”
Homelessness in the Jewellery Quarter is an issue that the JQBID are continually working to tackle, by collaborating with projects and partnerships such as the recent Birmingham Changing Futures Together. Led by people who have experienced homelessness, the project is pioneering new, innovative ways to engage with and offer support to the homeless community within the Jewellery Quarter. The early phases of the project show great promise, with the team currently working to house two homeless individuals within the first few months.
It is hoped that the incredible addition to our streets of the Jewellery Quarter Banksy will spur the people of Birmingham into collectively taking action to support our homeless community. The piece of art has already attracted global attention and the expected rise in the number of visitors to the area is welcomed by all.
Luke Crane further comments “By taking inspiration from the Jewellery Quarter Banksy artwork we have an opportunity here to put this area firmly on the map, as the leading light in ending the homelessness crisis that is blighting our inner cities”.