Banksy’s works on show in Madrid without his approval

The buyer of a work by street artist Banksy that was partially destroyed moments after it sold has gone through with the purchase at Sotheby's auction house. (AFP)
Updated 06 December 2018

Banksy’s works on show in Madrid without his approval

  • The show’s curator Alexander Nachkebiya describes Banksy as “a phenomenon and one of the most brilliant and important artist of our epoch.”

Madrid: Banksy has been Banksied.
The guerilla artist who puts up his work in public spaces without asking authorization is the subject of a new show in Madrid featuring his works — without his authorization.
“Genius or Vandal?” opened Thursday at the Ifema center in the Spanish capital and will run until March 10.
It has already pulled in half a million visitors at its previous venues Moscow and Saint Petersburg, according to a statement from the organizers.
The show’s curator Alexander Nachkebiya, who assembled the works from private collectors, describes Banksy as “a phenomenon and one of the most brilliant and important artist of our epoch.”
The street artist himself remains something of an enigma. All he has revealed about himself is that he is British and that his home town is Bristol in southeast England.
But the dark wit of his art and a certain talent for self-promotion has helped him build up an international reputation, to the point that his works have fetched more than a million pounds.
In August, Banksy used his Instagram account — 5.1 million followers — to make his position clear on the original Moscow show.
He posted an exchange of messages between him and a follower who tipped him off to the unauthorized exhibition.
Told they were charging a £20 ($25, €22) entrance free, Bansky replied: “I wish I could find it funny. What’s the opposite of LOL?“
But at the suggestion that he put out a statement denouncing the fact that it was made to look like an official show, he replied: .”..not sure I’m the best person to complain about people putting up pictures without getting permission.”
Nevertheless, his website does carry a message warning visitors about this and other shows. “They’ve been organized entirely without the artist’s knowledge or involvement. Please treat them accordingly.”
In the meantime, his subversive style continues to attract admirers.
His most recent stunt was at the October auction of one of his works, “Girl with Balloon,” at Sotheby’s in London.
Moments after it sold for £1,042,000 — a joint record for the maverick artist — it unexpectedly passed through a shredder hidden in the frame.
Only partially destroyed, the buyer went through with the purchase and some art experts said it was probably now worth more than it had been before the stunt.


Orange is the new grey for Bangladesh beards

(COMBO) This combination of pictures created on January 24, 2019 shows men with henna-dyed beards in Dhaka on December 24, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 26 min 59 sec ago

Orange is the new grey for Bangladesh beards

  • It is now virtually impossible to walk down a street in a Bangladesh city without seeing a colored beard

DHAKA, BANGLADESH: From shades of startling red to hues of vivid tangerine, brightly colored beards have become a fashion statement on the streets of Bangladesh capital Dhaka.
Facial hair of sunset tones is now the go-to look for older men wanting to take off the years, with an array of henna options available to the style-conscious.
“I have been using it on my hair for the last two months. I like it,” says Mahbubul Bashar, in his 50s, whose smile reflected his joy at his new look.
Abul Mia, a 60-year-old porter at a local vegetable market, agrees that the vibrant coloring can be transformative.
“I love it. My family says I look a lot younger and handsome,” he adds.
While henna has been used widely in the country for decades, it has reached new heights of popularity. It is now virtually impossible to walk down a street in a Bangladesh city without seeing a colored beard.
Orange hair — whether it’s beards, moustaches or on heads — is everywhere, thanks to the popularity of the colored dye produced by the flowering henna plant.
“Putting henna on has become a fashion choice in recent years for elder men,” confirms Didarul Dipu, head fashion journalist at Canvas magazine.
“The powder is easily found in neighborhood stores and easy to put on,” he adds.
But the quest for youth is not the only reason why more and more Dhaka barbers are adding beard and hair coloring to their services.
Top imams also increasingly use henna powder color in what experts say is a move to prove their Muslim credentials as some religious texts say the prophet Mohammed dyed his hair.
In Bangladesh most of the population of 168 million is Muslim.
“I heard from clerics that the prophet Mohammed used henna on his beard. I am just following,” says Dhaka resident Abu Taher.

Henna has long been a tradition at South Asian weddings. Brides and grooms use henna paste to trace intricate patterns on their hands for wedding parties.
It has also long been used in Muslim communities in Asia and the Middle East for beards.
Previously, aficionados created the dye by crushing henna leaves to form a paste. It was messy and time-consuming but modern henna powder is far more user-friendly.
Taher, who goes by one name, believes the dye has given his beard added vigour.
“Look at this growth. Isn’t it strong?” he exclaims pointing to his chin.
“The powder turns the grey hair red but does not change the remaining black hair,” he explains.
Some believe henna powder has health benefits and, as it is natural rather than created using man-made chemicals like some dyes, does not cause any medical issues.
The new trend has also boosted barbers’ fortunes — more men feel compelled to dye their hair and to do it more often at the salons.
“In the past we hardly would get any customers for this,” recalls Shuvo Das, who works at the Mahin Hairdressers in Dhaka’s Shaheenbagh neighborhood.
“But now there are clients who come every week to get their beard dyed,” he says.
“It takes about 40 minutes to make the beard reddish and shiny. It is also cheap. A pack cost only 15 taka (four US cents),” Das explains as he massages the dye mixture — imported from India — into a customer’s beard.
According to Dhaka University sociology professor Monirul Islam Khan, the growing number of henna beards “is a sign of increasing Muslim fervor in Bangladeshi society.”
But, he adds, even those who are not strict followers do it.
He explains: “They want to look younger. Even the women are getting fond of it as it makes their hair glitter.”