Possible New Banksy Appears on Prison Wall in the UK

Steve Parsons/PA Images/Getty Images

Everyone is trying to decipher the meaning of the piece.

Banksy has made a career of mysteriously creating graffiti art in public locations. Fans clamor to find the street art and wait for the famed (yet elusive) artist to confirm it. That happened again as a piece in typical Banksy style showed up on the wall of a prison in Reading, United Kingdom.

The piece depicts a prisoner escaping the prison using a tied bed sheet with a typewriter at the end of it. It features the classic stencil style for which the artist is known. While Banksy has yet to confirm the piece as authentic, fans still try to discern the meaning from the image. Many believe it’s a social commentary on the issues of freedom of speech on social media platforms. Others feel it’s more of a historic nod as it’s the same prison that housed author Oscar Wilde and inspired The Ballad of Reading Gaol.

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People take photographs of an artwork which has appeared on the wall of the former prison in Reading, Berkshire.
Steve Parsons/PA Images/Getty Images

Fans were first alerted to the new piece when an Instagram user posted an image of it. He wrote, “@banksy, I hope this is you; otherwise, I’m just an idiot taking a picture with some random graffiti. Last night this appeared on Reading Prison Walls hell knows how he got up there! Either way, this has given so much joy to people, so many excited individuals taking pictures and wondering if it is really Banksy’s work. Good to have art like this in depressing times like lockdown.”

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Since December, Banksy hadn’t posted to his Instagram account when he confirmed a piece of a girl sneezing on the side of a home in Bristol. That marked his second pandemic-themed piece. In July, he shared a video of a masked man stenciling rats— some wearing masks—on the London subway. And back in April, he showed how he was keeping busy while in quarantine, captioning a photo of rats taking over his bathroom with, “My wife hates it when I work from home.”