During the Medieval and Early Modern periods, spirits known as “familiars” or “animal guides” were believed to be supernatural entities that would assist witches and ‘cunning folk’ in their practice of magic.
Renowned for his media savvy sleight of hand and camera shy dissapearing acts, Banksy uses a number of loyal characters as message carriers. The most well known of these to me is the rat. You can’t see it yet, but I’ve placed this contemporary familiar on his right shoulder. It surveys what he sees and declares his thoughts supporting his ideas.
Of course, like all familiars it has a cheekiness that has the ability to not only convey the idea but also twist it – just because it can.
Banksy Portrait – “If Graffiti changed anything…” by Mark Welland
122 x 122 cm
Acrylic on Wood