Banksy: Tauranga, New Zealand Works By Iconic Street Artist? [Video]

Tauranga, New Zealand, is abuzz with rumors that recently discovered street art pieces could be the works of the iconic British artist Banksy and that he may even be in the city, as reported by the New Zealand Herald.

Two separate works, said to be “reflective” of the Banksy style, are shown in a video provided by the newspaper; one shows a man and woman embracing, looking past each other, at cellphones held up behind each other, while the second depicts children and a message described as “referring to loving New Zealand.”

Opinion on whether the new works are genuine Banksy appears to be mixed. An employee with a nearby business, Flow Pilates, offered the opinion that the paintings bear hallmarks of the “guys from Bohemian Tattoo Arts,” as reported by Sun Live.

“Lots of people were talking about them and coming in to ask which alleyway they were down,” the employee, named Jane, was quoted with regard to local interest in the pieces.

Banksy is described as “arguably the world’s most successful anonymous artist.” Despite being renowned globally for his often absurdist portrayals of scenes that include bold statements regarding the human condition, his identity remains elusive.

It is perhaps ironic, as well as heartening, that Tauranga City Council is reportedly attempting to confirm whether or not the new scenes are Banksy originals, given that within the last few decades, many municipal councils would have likely viewed such adornments as graffiti and branded the creators as being in violation of the law, or worse.

“It’s very exciting, the not knowing, but that is what street art is all about,” Viktoria Ermes, a spokesperson for the Tauranga City Council, stated. “We really don’t know who did it.”

A connection between the location of the Banksy-Tauranga pieces and the upcoming Paradox Street Art Festival, scheduled to run from March to June 2017, has been noted by Scott McKenzie, the CEO of Property Managers Group.

The Spring Street building, where the new Banksy art has appeared, is reported to be the subject of a purchase agreement by Pacific Property Fund that will result in Scott McKenzie’s group managing the property.

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“The word on the street is that Banksy could be in Tauranga now to covertly promote the recently announced Paradox Street Art Festival taking place in Tauranga from March to June next year, of which Banksy’s work will be a focal point,” the executive stated.

McKenzie continued that the possibility that Banksy may be in New Zealand and have contributed art in Tauranga is “brilliant.”

The Paradox Street Art Festival is expected to display examples of Banksy’s work from March 28 through the end of June 2017.

Besides his world-renowned art, Banksy has made a name for himself with other absurdist pursuits. From August 21 to September 27, 2015, an exhibition known as Dismaland appeared in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, and was said to have been the brainchild of Banksy, who is thought to have been born in 1974, in Bristol, England.

The driving force behind the creation of Dismaland described it as a “family theme park unsuitable for children.” Many of the exhibits were said to require “audience participation.”

The Dismaland display was said to include a “Punch and Judy,” a riot-torn village, and a magic castle, complete with paparazzi.

“Subversive, darkly comic and cocking a snook at authority there are good reasons why the mysterious Mr. Banksy is so popular,” BBC News wrote with regard to the man thought to possibly be behind the recent images to appear in Tauranga.

Located on the North Island, Tauranga is reported to be New Zealand’s fifth-largest city with a population of 134,000.

[Featured Image by Carl Court/Getty Images]