British street artist Banksy released a satirical video this week portraying Gaza as an exclusive travel destination, along with footage of a series of new works by the artist in the war-ravaged Palestinian territory. “Make this the year you discover a new destination,” the video says before revealing images of the extensive destruction in the territory interspersed with shots of Banksy’s signature graffiti, including an image of a kitten with a pink bow tie.
The clip, which mocks promotional tourist videos, opens with a man entering the “exclusive” area, which he calls “well away from the tourist track,” through what appears to be an illegal tunnel. “The locals like it so much they never leave (because they’re not allowed to),” Banksy writes in the video.
The rubble resulting from Israel’s bombardment of the territory during 2014’s Operation Protective Edge is highlighted prominently in the video. The 50-day conflict between Israel and Gaza’s Hamas leadership last summer left more than 1,500 civilians, including 539 children dead while causing massive displacement and destruction of property, according to Amnesty International.
— Tweet_Palestine (@Tweet_Palestine) February 26, 2015
Banksy’s latest murals are also given some screen time, including one featuring children swinging around a watchtower in the style of an amusement park swing carousel. Another shows a man with his hands over his face in despair, in the style of Rodin’s "The Thinker." In commentary on his website, Banksy explains the image of the kitten in the bow tie, noting that he “wanted to highlight the destruction in Gaza” by posting photos on his site but “on the Internet people only look at pictures of kittens.”
— Rania Khalek (@RaniaKhalek) February 26, 2015
— Noah Browning (@Noah_Browning) February 26, 2015
The video, as well as the new murals unveiled in Gaza were confirmed as authentic by Banksy’s publicist, Jo Brooks, Artnet reported. The artist has previously done work highlighting the struggle of Palestinians, including his 2005 murals along the controversial Israeli separation barrier with the West Bank, including a white dove in a bulletproof vest.
Watch the video below: