Banksy art to materialise in Vienna with a little Saudi help

Banksy’s The Girl with the Pierced Eardrum, adorned with a protective face mask, at Albion Dock, Bristol, Britain, April 23, 2020. (Reuters)
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Updated 22 July 2020

Banksy art to materialise in Vienna with a little Saudi help

  • The Art of Banksy — Without Limits will be hosted at the prestigious Sofiensäle and will be held from the 23rd of July to the 4th of October
  • NOWAAR’s Mohammed Sulaiman Al-Muhaidib: The Vienna exhibition will be our first European event and marks the beginning of Saudi Arabia’s international cultural outreach

RIYADH: Austrian capital Vienna is set to steal the global cultural limelight as it hosts an exhibition showcasing work from British graffiti artist Banksy. The event, co-organized by Saudi entertainment company NOWAAR, will be a celebration of Banksy’s bold and boundary-pushing work.

“The Art of Banksy — Without Limits” will be hosted at the prestigious Sofiensäle and will be held from the 23rd of July to the 4th of October. The exhibition comes as a herald of hope to the public as people try to overcome the challenges belying the recovery phases of the Covid-19 pandemic. This bestows a global dimension upon the event as it pulls the international culture scene from its involuntary recent torpor.

The exhibition’s uniqueness lies in its diverse programme, allowing it to become a living celebration of the elusive artist’s achievements; A rare glimpse into the socially engaged graffiti artist’s studio will be followed by a 10 minute documentary film about his life and work. The audience will then be given access to 105 Banksy art pieces — originals, photos and prints, sculptures and some installations especially reproduced for the exhibition.

Mohammed Sulaiman Al-Muhaidib, NOWAAR’s chairman of the board, said: “Co-hosting the exhibition with EventS, a European company, comes as a natural continuation of the Kingdom’s evolving cultural landscape, with its growing development and unprecedented openness to international experiences. We have witnessed this with our Banksy Riyadh exhibition, which saw the event turn into a cultural festival that went on to garner considerable local and international acclaim.

“The Vienna exhibition will be our first European event and marks the beginning of Saudi Arabia’s international cultural outreach.”


Banksy loses EU trademark fight with greeting card company

Updated 17 September 2020

Banksy loses EU trademark fight with greeting card company

  • Full Colour Black claimed the trademark for “Flower Thrower” should be canceled because Banksy had not made use of it
  • The greeting card company also noted that Banksy wrote in one of his books that “copyright is for losers"

BRUSSELS: Street artist Banksy has lost a legal battle with a a greeting card company along with a European Union trademark for one of his most iconic artworks.
The cancellation division of the EU's intellectual property office said in a ruling this week that Banksy's trademark for “Flower Thrower” was filed in bad faith and declared it “invalid in its entirety.”
Also known as “Love is in The Air," the graffiti artist created the work in Jerusalem in 2005. It depicts a young protester wearing a cap and with his face half-covered throwing a bouquet of flowers.
The decision, which can be appealed, followed a dispute between UK greeting card company Full Colour Black Ltd. and the company that authenticates and handles requests dealing with Banksy's work, Pest Control Office Ltd. The British street artist's real name and identity are unknown.
Full Colour Black, which sells products printed with images of his pieces, claimed the 2014 trademark for “Flower Thrower” should be canceled because Banksy had not made use of it. The company argued he only applied for it to prevent “the ongoing use of the work which he had already permitted to be reproduced."
The greeting card company also noted that Banksy wrote in one of his books that “copyright is for losers."
After Full Colour Black started legal proceedings, Banksy opened an online store called Gross Domestic Product to sell his own range of merchandise. But the move left the EU examiners unconvinced.
“It was only during the course of the present proceedings that Banksy started to sell goods but specifically stated that they were only being sold to overcome non-use for trademark proceedings and not to commercialize the goods," they wrote in their decision.
Citing Banksy's stated contempt for intellectual property rights, the examiners also made clear that the artist's choice to keep his identity secret hurt him in the “Flower Thrower” case.
“It must be pointed out that another factor worthy of consideration is that he cannot be identified as the unquestionable owner of such works as his identity is hidden," they wrote. “It further cannot be established without question that the artist holds any copyrights to a graffiti. The contested (trademark) was filed in order for Banksy to have legal rights over the sign as he could not rely on copyright rights, but that is not a function of a trademark."
Banksy began his career spray-painting buildings in Bristol, England, and has become one of the world’s best-known artists. His mischievous and often satirical images include two policemen kissing, armed riot police with yellow smiley faces and a chimpanzee with a sign bearing the words, “Laugh now, but one day I’ll be in charge.”