The infamous anonymous street artist known only as Banksy made a raid on Paris a few days ago, with several new artworks now adorning the city’s walls.
Banksy is known for his politically savage subject material, and this round of guerilla stencils fits squarely within his wheelhouse. The pieces appear to reference France’s current immigration crisis, and French president Emmanuel Macron’s strict border control policies. One image, painted near a closed refugee shelter, shows a young black girl attempting to cover up a swastika by putting up pink wallpaper, a not-so-subtle jab at the nationalist strains that still linger in France. Another shows Napoleon riding into battle completely covered in a red cloak, likely a reference to France’s laws banning burkas and face coverings in public.
Attempts have already been made simultaneously to destroy and preserve the stencils, with some people putting up plexiglass to protect them, and others (like the girl with the swastika) already blotted out with someone’s blue spray paint. In the middle of such a controversial debate on immigration, this event has only clarified that this is a major divisive moment in France’s political history.