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Banksy debuts two murals in tribute to Basquiat

The works are an homage to the late artist and have appeared just days before the UK's first retrospective on his work

Two new Banksy murals have appeared at the Barbican in London over the weekend. The pieces are an “unofficial collaboration” paying homage to Jean-Michel Basquiat and have appeared just days before Britain's first ever Basquiat retrospective opening at the Barbican on September 20.

September has been a busy month for Bansky. The Basquiat murals follow on from Banksy’s most recent piece found at an anti-arms race exhibition, Art the Arms Fair, set up to fight against the world's largest arms expo held in east London earlier this month. While Basquiat is enjoying a renaissance having just broken a record when his “Untitled” painting sold for $110.5 million.

Returning to Basquiat’s graffitist roots, Banksy’s piece features a Ferris-wheel and a note from the artist: “Major new Basquiat show opens at the Barbican – a place that is normally very keen to clean any graffiti from its walls.” The second mural depicts an image reminiscent of Basquiat’s 1982 Boy and Dog in a Johnnypump being stopped and searched by police.

It’s a fitting tribute as both artists are known to use their work to critique the state. Policemen are a trope in Banksy’s work often used to communicate his anti-establishment messages and Basquiat’s works also touched on state violence and police brutality. The accompanying caption reads: “Portrait of Basquiat being welcomed by the Metropolitan Police – an (unofficial) collaboration with the new Basquiat show.”

Basquiat: Boom for real opens at the Barbican on September 20. You can find out more about the exhibition here

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