Banksy Unveils Mural in War-Torn Ukrainian Town

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The British street artist Bansky unveiled his latest creation on Friday: a female gymnast depicted on a war-torn building in Ukraine.

In an Instagram post, the anonymous artist posted three photos of the mural with the simple caption, “Borodyanka, Ukraine.” The mural is black and white and features a gymnast, who is dressed in a leotard, doing a handstand on rubble by the building.

Borodyanka, a Ukrainian commuter town about 35 miles northwest of Kyiv, was among the first places to be hit by Russian airstrikes after the invasion in February. The town, where at least 200 people were killed in Russian attacks, used to have about 13,000 residents and was described as a simple, modest place to live. In early April, Ukraine recaptured the town.

Banksy did not reveal any additional details about his whereabouts, though many suspected the artist had been in the area after murals that align with his style were spotted throughout Ukraine.

Many believed another mural near the rubble where the gymnast was displayed was also a Banksy creation. It showed a child throwing a man who many believed resembled Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, to the ground during a judo match. (Mr. Putin is a known judo aficionado.)

For nearly two decades Banksy has remained anonymous with the help of nondisclosure agreements, trademark law and a team that authenticates his work.

His street art, which often has social and political undertones, has been seen around the world from New York City to London, the West Bank and elsewhere. His work has also included stunts, such as in 2018 when a painting self-destructed moments after it was sold for $1.4 million at auction; a rigged frame shredded the canvas. That painting, retitled “Love is in the Bin,” was resold by Sotheby’s in London for $25.4 million, a record for the artist.

He goes to great lengths to regulate the resale of his work and prevent fakes. In 2008 he set up Pest Control, an agency to authenticate works and prevent fakes and site-specific street pieces from appearing on the market. Reputable dealers and auction houses now sell Banksy works only with Pest Control certification.

The agency did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


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