One of the most paramount keys to understanding street art by Banksy is to scrutinize rich and expressive symbolism deeply rooted in his art murals. At the end of the day, the symbolic nature of his art is by far the very reason why people adore the anonymous street genius and continue to keep track of his artistic progress.
If you have been acquainted with Banksy’s street art for some time, you must have noticed that there is one thing that the artist likes to depict the most: rats. Rats are an inalienable part of his work because they are attributed not only to the artist but also to the whole human culture.
Rats in street art by Banksy
The nature of Banksy’s rats is disorganized if not chaotic. Depicted on the buildings around the world, the artist’s rodents seem to be his never-ending motive. Seriously, just look at most of his murals. Rats are everywhere; they are the essential core of street art by Banksy. What is, then, so special about this symbol?
First and foremost, rats are part of Banksy’s identity. Rats are considered to be harbingers of something deadly and unsavory, something that goes against the normal pace of human life. And here is the parallel: contemporary street artists, like rats, are usually outside the law, which transforms them into some sort of criminals. Moreover, they (street artists) are known for revealing some dubious and questionable truth about the current state of social affairs, which makes them kind of “unwanted” for a society that tries to mask its issues.
Secondly, rats can be interpreted as a demonstration of people’s qualities and life in general. Banksy depicts each rodent as a bearer of identity with its specific stance and purpose, which resembles the well-known term “rat society.”
The symbolic nature of rats is still open to debate, so be sure to look at the magnificent street art by Banksy, and maybe you will find the truth.