Banksy Weighs In on Lockdown

Coronavirus-themed artwork has since been removed from London train
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 15, 2020 7:21 AM CDT

New coronavirus-themed artwork from Banksy appeared on the London Underground before it was swiftly removed according to a "strict anti-graffiti policy." A video shared Tuesday on Banksy's social media channels shows a man posing as a professional cleaner aboard a Circle Line train, per the BBC. He waves off a commuter before stencilling numerous rats along the walls. One appears to be sneezing, another is trapped in a medical face mask, and a third holds a bottle of sanitizer. The man—in a full Tyvek-style suit, gloves, and mask—is also seen painting Banksy's tag in the color of a medical mask. At the end of the video, "I get lockdown" is shown on a platform wall before a train's doors close, revealing the words "but I get up again"—a nod to Chumbawamba's 1997 hit "Tubthumping," which then plays.

Transport for London said the work—apparently titled "If You Don't Mask, You Don't Get"—was removed "some days ago" in line with its "strict anti-graffiti policy." Still, it said it appreciated the support of the requirement that everyone using public transport in London must wear a mask. "We'd like to offer Banksy the chance to do a new version of his message for our customers in a suitable location," it said. Banksy also unveiled an artwork honoring health care workers in May. "Game Changer," donated to the University Hospital Southampton in the UK, shows a child playing with a nurse doll featuring mask and cape. And in April, the artist originally from Bristol, England, revealed more of his stencilled rats, this time seen trashing his own bathroom in a lockdown scene, per CNN. (A stolen Banksy artwork was just recovered.)

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