Bansky| Street art campaigning for Humanitarian causes

ita | eng

Many things have changed this year, starting with our lives, which have seen a drastic change in daily routines, and right up to the art world. Artists have come to support causes, even at the front lines; they are detailing their lives and commenting on the world today. This is the case of the famous British street artist known as Bansky. He has bought a ship, calling it the Louise Michel, to help with the migrant situation in the Mediterranean Sea.

The project dates back to 2019 when Bansky wrote a message to Pia Klemp, a german activist campaigning for the safety of various marine species being preyed upon by poachers: “Hello Pia, I have read your story in the newspaper, you seem tough. I’m an artist in the United Kingdom and I’ve created some work on the migrant crisis. I can’t keep the money. Could you use this money to buy a new ship or something similar? Please let me know, Bansky.”

At first, Klemp didn’t believe the message, she thought it was a joke. Once she realized the message wasn’t a fake, she replied affirmatively to the proposal (underlining the fact the Bansky’s help has only been financial).



The only signature Bansky granted himself is the colour of the boat – a bright pink which immediately catches the eye – and the famous figure of the girl on the side of the boat, tending a hand towards a life-vest in the shape of a heart (instead of the iconic balloon). To underline the humanitarian cause of the boat is the word “rescue” written right next to the girl, and on the other side is the artists signature. Even the choice of colour and the name of the boat, which refers to a french anarchic figure of the 18th century, reaffirm the idea of its humanitarian mission.

The ship, boasting a german flag, left the Spanish port of Borriana on the 18th of august and since then has saved and rescued 219 migrants in one go, which led the activists to seek the help of the Italian Coast Guard. The ship wasn’t able to proceed in its mission due to overcrowding on board as well as deaths. The requests for help were left on Twitter and commented on by many people, thanks also the fact the ship is signed by the artist.

Bansky’s interest in the cause isn’t dictated by want of fame (as the artist is already well known throughout the world) but by a wish to help migrants and give them equal rights. Think of Paris 2018 when the artist created a series of murals reporting on the politics being put in place towards migrants. 

More information can be found on the MV Louise Michel official website.

Translated by Ludovica Sarti

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