WORTH THE DRIVE: ‘Banksyland’ exhibition in Columbus spotlights elusive artist’s activism

The iconic social activism of the infamous British artist known as Banksy is on display in the aptly titled “Banksyland,” an international touring exhibition presented this weekend in Columbus.

More than 80 pieces and installations will offer patrons a unique chance to see Banksy’s signature storytelling up close. There will be original and studio works, salvaged street artworks and never-before-seen immersive installations.

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

“We were able to see some pieces that hadn’t been seen before and we wanted to make that accessible,” said Britt Ryes, Banksyland general manager. “Considering everything we’ve all experienced together as Americans over the last three years, my hope is this exhibition will blend cultures, force different generations to talk, and uplift the next generation of artists, activities and disrupters.”

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The exhibition is curated by One Thousand Ways, an experiential arts collective specializing in innovate immersive events globally. The organization’s mission is “to inspire social change through art that captures the attention of diverse audiences and unites cultures.”

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Whether conjuring innocence and hope in “Girl with Balloon” or releasing political viewpoints in the policeman-themed “Flying Copper,” Banksy’s imaginative imprint is fundamentally thought-provoking. A product of Bristol, England’s graffiti and street art scene of the 1990s, Banksy is cynical, charming and controversial, making him a pop culture icon appealing to the masses.

“This exhibit is like a beehive sometimes,” Reyes explained. “I watch strangers talk, cry or be moved to action. I watch others get angry and want to make sure this planet is more inhabitable for our children. Banksy speaks to all of this in his true, punk rock, sarcastic, dark and humorous way. There are pieces that everyone can relate to including some that can be (considered) a wake-up call.”

HOW TO GO

What: “Banksyland”

Where: Municipal Light Plant building, 589 W. Nationwide Blvd., Columbus

When: Sept. 16-18; 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Friday; 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday; and 12:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday

Tickets: $22-$59; Limited ticket availability.

More info: banksyland.com

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