Street artist Banksy this week revealed on his Instagram account his most recent piece of art work. It depicts Santa’s reindeer harnessed to a real life bench against a wall. When you look at it, it looks like the reindeer are pulling the bench as a sleigh.
As with all of Banksy’s street paintings, it is meant to tell a story and send a message. In this case it highlights the problem of homelessness around Christmas, which this year is at an all time high.
With at least 135,000 children expected to be homeless this Christmas, this is the highest number recorded for 12 years. On Christmas day, many of these children will be living in temporary and shared accommodation.
London has the highest concentration of homeless children, with numbers of around 88,000. Over the past five years the number of homeless children in the UK has risen by 51%. Clearly we are not doing enough to tackle this problem, and shows that political efforts to curb homeless rates in the UK are falling short.
The artist Banksy always focuses on current problems and instabilities in our society. His most recent mural of the reindeer pulling the homeless man on the bench has captivated the nations attention and shed real light on the subject.
Mainstream media outlets are now publishing articles on the UK homeless population and the issue is receiving widespread attention. Thanks to Banksy, there is increasing pressure on political parties to tackle the issue.
Unfortunately, this week, a man defaced Banksy’s mural in front of a crowd of people. He sprayed two red noses on the reindeer as crowds of people tried to confront him to stop his actions.
There has since been a protective piece of perspective placed over the artwork to stop vandals from doing this in the future.