Banksy Debuts Holiday-Themed Art in West Bank

“Scar of Bethlehem” puts a distinctive spin on the nativity scene

Banksy nativity
England-based street artist Banksy's artwork named "Scar of Bethlehem" depicting nativity scene with Mary and Joseph and the baby Jesus in front of a damaged grey wall is displayed at "The Walled Off" hotel in Bethlehem, West Bank on December 22, 2019.
Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Certain phrases can inspire more than a little cognitive dissonance. Take, for instance, the idea of a Banksy-created nativity scene. What might a familiar sight in the Yuletide decoration canon look like in the hands of an artist whose work abounds with pranks and provocation? This isn’t a rhetorical question: Banksy recently unveiled Scar of Bethlehem, a new sculpture that puts a distinctive spin on a holiday tradition.

A report at Reuters discusses the work and its debut, which includes an eye-catching juxtaposition of past and present: 

Dubbed “Scar of Bethlehem”, the display … features a miniature Jesus, Mary and Joseph under a rendition of Israel’s concrete West Bank barrier punctured by bullet holes, the largest of which resembles a star over the manger.

Scar of Bethlehem made its debut at The Walled Off Hotel, a West Bank establishment which began its existence as one of Banksy’s art projects and has taken on a life of its own. It’s also home to a gallery, described on the hotel’s website as “the largest permanent platform for Palestinian artists to showcase their work in Palestine.”

This sculpture isn’t Banksy’s first foray into holiday-themed art. Last year, the artist painted a winter-themed mural in Port Talbot, a Welsh industrial town known for high levels of pollution. As the year draws to its end, many people reflect on the current state of the world; perhaps what we’re seeing here is one artist’s take on that. 

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