France to protect Banksy mural of Steve Jobs in Calais migrant camp

13 Dec, 2015 6:49 pm

LILLE – British graffiti artist Banksy’s mural of late Apple founder Steve Jobs as a refugee on a wall in the Calais migrant camp and two other Banksy works in other parts of the city will be protected, local authorities said.

The Banksy mural depicts a life-size Jobs carrying a shoulder bag and an early-model Apple computer on a wall at the entrance of the Calais camp, surrounded by immigrants’ tents. The mural pictures are posted on Banksy’s website.

Authorities in Calais, northern France, said they plan to shield the murals with glass or transparent plastic panels.

“We found out about the presence of this artwork on Friday and have decided to protect it, so it is not damaged,” a Calais city spokeswoman said.

Calais mayor Natacha Bouchart told local newspaper Nord Littoral that the artwork is an opportunity for Calais.

“It is very good, and it has a message,” she said.

Banksy, whose identity has never been confirmed, said in a rare statement to British media that Apple only exists because U.S. authorities allowed in a young man from Homs, Syria.

“We’re often led to believe migration is a drain on the country’s resources but Steve Jobs was the son of a Syrian migrant,” said Banksy, who is famous for painting ironic murals in unexpected places.

Some 6,000 migrants fleeing war and poverty in Africa and the Middle East live in a so-called “jungle” of camps in Calais and are trying repeatedly to enter Britain by jumping onto lorries, hiding on trains and walking through the tunnel in the hope of better lives there than in continental Europe.

In a second Banksy mural by the Calais beach, a child looks towards Britain through a telescope, with a vulture perched on the telescope.

A third work in the city, close to the immigration office, reproduces a black-and-white version of “The Raft of the Medusa”, a famous painting of shipwreck survivors by 19th century French painter Theodore Gericault.

It shows survivors on a raft desperately waving to catch the attention of what looks like a modern yacht on the horizon.

The Banksy website carries a photo of the mural with the subscription “We’re not all in the same boat”. In September, the artist said on his website that timber and fixtures from his temporary “Dismaland” theme park in western England would be sent to build shelters for migrants in Calais. -Reuters

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