Security systems installed to protect Bansky murals in Ukraine

Perhaps the world’s most famous and celebrated street artist, Banksy continues to create murals with a powerful, political message and is something of an icon. Technically regarded as illegal vandalism, Banky’s works have become globally recognised and extraordinarily valuable. 

The artist usually explores political themes, hypocrisy, capitalism, greed and satirically critiques war. And this certainly seems to be the case in Ukraine, with his works popping up on buildings in various locations, including Kyiv, Borodyanka, and Irpin – some of the hardest hit by the Russian invasion.

You can read more about his Ukraine murals here. The exact meaning of the images is, of course, open to interpretation; however, it’s quite clear that they emit an anti-war message. 

In past auctions, Banksy’s works have sold for up to $25 million, making his exposed murals a target for thieves. One mural has already been chiselled away from a scorched wall in Ukraine by a group of men. To prevent further theft, Ajax Systems, a Ukrainian-founded international security company, has installed high-tech systems to protect the murals. They are now covered with transparent polycarbonate sheets with built-in sensors designed to react to shocks and vibrations. When triggered, a siren will activate, alerting authorities of attempted vandalism. 

The polycarbonate walls also protect the artworks from the external environment, monitoring humidity and temperature to maintain their condition. 

“Usually, street art does not require protection,” said Valentine Hrytsenko, the chief marketing officer at Ajax Systems. “But the war makes its adjustments. For Ukrainians, Banksy’s murals are a symbol of invincibility with an essential message which we want to capture for our future generations.”

Hrytsenko added: “The murals are a major symbol of resistance, important for the whole world and we want to protect them.”

Some would say these protective measures go against the very thing that Banky stands for. The artist purposely chose unmonitored, dangerous locations, whereas, now, part of their very nature has been altered. 

HORENKA, UKRAINE – FEBRUARY 22, 2023 (Photo credit Evgen Kotenko / Ukrinform/Future Publishing via Getty Images)

Banksy’s murals, which have become a symbol of support for Ukraine, are now untouchable; arguably, a distance has been created between Bansky’s message and the people. Although Ajax Systems were installed to preserve these works of art in the interest of monetary value, Banksy’s powerful message of activism is a reminder that, as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky recently said, “light will win over darkness.”

In other Banksy news, we are deeply honoured to be instructed by the owner to oversee the safe removal of the latest Banksy mural, Valentine’s Day Mascara, featured in Margate. Removal of the work is underway and shall be relocated to DREAMLAND, Marine Terrace, Margate, where it will be available for public viewing. 

We are pleased to announce that, on behalf of the owners, when a buyer is found for Valentine’s Day Mascara, a significant six-figure sum will be donated to Oasis Domestic Abuse Service in Margate. This generous donation allows the powerful message to be amplified and goes a tremendous way in supporting domestic abuse victims in Margate.

If you would like to support Banksy and acquire one of his statement pieces, come and chat with us at Red Eight Gallery or contact us via our website.

Main Image: IRPIN, UKRAINE – FEBRUARY 22, 2023 (Photo credit Evgen Kotenko/Ukrinform/Future Publishing via Getty Images)