Either Banksy has struck again in Alabama, or there’s an artist in Montgomery who does a really good Banksy imitation.
An online debate is raging right now over a piece of street art portraying Martin Luther King Jr. According to the Montgomery Advertiser (h/t the Huffington Post), the mural mysteriously showed up on the side of an abandoned Montgomery building on March 26 — the 50th anniversary of the famous Selma to Montgomery march that was led by MLK.
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The painting has some wondering if it’s the latest work by the anonymous street artist Banksy.
Banksy, as is his style, is not confirming either way. That leads it up to everyone to wonder: is it a Banksy or isn’t it? Let’s weigh the evidence:
It is a Banksy
Banksy is no stranger to controversial and political works. His apparent mural depicting children swinging from an Israeli guard tower was recently spotted in the northern Gaza Strip. (Photo: AP)
It certainly looks like a Banksy: The street artwork, which has been dubbed “I Have a Dreamcatcher,” features the civil rights leader standing in front of a Native American dreamcatcher, opening his shirt and suit Clark Kent-style to reveal a red “X” over his chest.
It’s political: Banksy frequently makes political and controversial statements with his art, so portraying Martin Luther King during this high profile civil rights anniversary is a move that’s positively Banksyesque.
Banksy’s been to Alabama: The Montgomery Advertiser reports one of his works appeared at a Gardendale gas station. It depicted a Ku Klux Klan member holding a noose around his neck.
It’s not a Banksy
Banksy hasn’t confirmed it: Banksy rarely authenticates his street artwork, as doing so would be admitting to a crime. But he’ll often post his work on his website or Instagram page. There’s no sign of this particular piece on either place.
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There are other suspects: The Montgomery Advertiser cites witnesses who say they saw a young man painting the mural. They say the man used a ladder with the initials R.C. painted on it and said he was from the Opelika area. It just so happens there’s a street artist, also from Opelika, who goes by the initials “R.C.”: Richard Cecil Hagans. He reportedly refused to tell the paper whether he painted “I Have a Dreamcatcher,” although he did venture his personal opinion that the work is not a Banksy.
So for now, the mystery continues: is “I Have a Dreamcatcher” a Banksy or not? The suspects aren’t talking. So if you think there’ll be an easy resolution to this mystery, then dream on.