And a well-known Native American object has some observers in Montgomery, Alabama speculating that the artist is none other than Banksy.
Banksy, a London-based provocateur who often thrills the public with political works in public places, is without a doubt the most famous street artist working today. When he visited New York in 2013, his “residency” was documented meticulously online and the public’s Banksy-mania was sufficient to warrant an HBO documentary, Banksy Does New York.
The piece in Montgomery shows King merged with a dreamcatcher, and is being called “I Have a Dreamcatcher.” It may be referring to King’s statements on the historical injustices done to Native people. King famously observed, “Our nation was born in genocide when it embraced the doctrine that the original American, the Indian, was an inferior race. Even before there were large numbers of Negroes on our shore, the scar of racial hatred had already disfigured colonial society.”
But like all street art, what we see might be all we get. If the artist intended some other message, we may never know what it was.
And we may never know whether that artist is Banksy. Interviews with residents for a Montgomery Advertiser article reveal different opinions. One Banksy fan swears it’s a Banksy, while others are not so sure. There’s even a suspect, a local graffiti artist who signs his work “R.C.” — but R.C. would neither confirm nor deny that it was his work. “I am familiar with [Banksy’s] style,” R.C. said. “If it were him, it would be more controversial, pushing people’s buttons a bit more. That is just a nice poignant almost political picture, but it’s not his style.”
Perhaps proving R.C.’s point — Banksy did visit Alabama in 2008, and made a statement on the side of a Birmingham gas station that didn’t go over too well. The image showed a KKK member hanging from a noose. It was soon covered up with black spraypaint, and then the exterior of the wall was removed altogether.