Pro-mask message from elusive artist Banksy on Tube

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Commuters on one London Underground train will see a new public health message from a rather unexpected source – as world-renowned artist Banksy left his mark on the network.

The elusive graffiti activist has painted seven of his trademark stencilled rats coughing and playing with face masks on an unknown Tube train.

A video was posted on the Banksy Instagram account with the caption “If you don’t mask – you don’t get it”.

It shows the artist disguised as a Transport for London (TfL) cleaner with a hazmat suit, goggles, high-viz jacket, gloves – and of course a face mask.

A few confused commuters are shepherded away and look on as the figure stencils the inside of a train carriage.

Banksy paints a rat sneezing across a window, two using disposable masks as parchutes, a fourth trying to wear a much-oversized face covering, and a fifth using antibacterial spray to clean a dripping image of the artist’s name.

Face masks have been mandatory on public transport in England for a month – and TfL says there is 90% compliance on its network.

Banksy’s pro-mask message comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced those rules would be extended to include shops from 24 July.

The public health graffiti is the latest work from the elusive English artist, who has kept his identity a closely guarded secret.

Banksy is known for his often-political work, including murals in the Gaza Strip, near a migrant camp in Calais, and across the UK.

Last year he grabbed headlines when his iconic ‘Balloon Girl’ shredded itself just moments after it was sold for over £1 million at a Sotheby’s auction.

The artist’s latest video ends with a positive message for Londoners amid virus restrictions.

A view through open Tube doors shows the phrase, “I get locked down”, before they close to reveal the punch line, “but I get up again”, flanked by two more of the artist’s furry friends.

The phrase is a reference to the hit single ‘Tubthumping’ by Chumbawamba – which features the lyric “I get knocked down, but I get up again”.

TfL said it was not aware of the graffiti artist’s plans until he posted the video online – and as of this afternoon the network had not identified the train or station involved.

 

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. . If you don’t mask – you don’t get.

A post shared by Banksy (@banksy) on

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But the video gives keen watchers a clue – at one point a tannoy is heard announcing Baker Street as the next stop, and advising passengers to change for the Bakerloo, Metropolitan and Jubilee lines.

This suggests travellers on the Circle or Hammersmith and City lines would be most likely to spot the new work.

And the station with the first half of Banksy’s pandemic punch line could be Euston Square – as an announcement shortly before the end of the video names it as the next stop.

But Banksy fans should enjoy the art from home for now – as Government guidelines still advise against using public transport, unless there is no other option for your journey.

Banksy is known for his often-political work, including murals in the Gaza Strip, near a migrant camp in Calais, and across the UK.

Last year he grabbed headlines when his iconic ‘Balloon Girl’ shredded itself just moments after it was sold for over £1 million at a Sotheby’s auction.

The artist’s latest video ends with a positive message for Londoners amid virus restrictions.

A view through open Tube doors shows the phrase, “I get locked down”, before they close to reveal the punch line, “but I get up again”, flanked by two more of the artist’s furry friends.

The phrase is a reference to the hit single ‘Tubthumping’ by Chumbawamba – which features the lyric “I get knocked down, but I get up again”.

TfL said it was not aware of the graffiti artist’s plans until he posted the video online – and as of this afternoon the network had not identified the train or station involved.

But the video gives keen watchers a clue – at one point a tannoy is heard announcing Baker Street as the next stop, and advising passengers to change for the Bakerloo, Metropolitan and Jubilee lines.

This suggests travellers on the Circle or Hammersmith and City lines would be most likely to spot the new work.

And the station with the first half of Banksy’s pandemic punch line could be Euston Square – as an announcement shortly before the end of the video names it as the next stop.

But Banksy fans should enjoy the art from home for now – as Government guidelines still advise against using public transport, unless there is no other option for your journey.

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