Banksy’s Latest Work Pokes Fun at a Permanently Raised Drawbridge with a “Powerful” History

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RAISE THE DRAWBRIDGE! / DRAW THE RAISED BRIDGE!

Banksy’s latest site-specific intervention was confirmed today when the artist posted photos of the work on Instagram. Appearing on Hull’s Scott Street Bridge early this morning, the local community had already been speculating for hours on Banksy’s role in creating the piece when he posted the photos.

A little boy sits atop an existing graffiti tag, with a colander for a helmet and a toy sword raised in the air, the words “DRAW THE RAISED BRIDGE!” written over his head. The work appears to satirize the Scott Street Bridge it’s painted on, a drawbridge that’s been permanently raised since 1994. Banksy’s new work uses a double-meaning in the word “draw” to inspire fellow artists and critique the city, which in 1986, was already receiving recommendations to demolish or to refurbish the bridge, none of which has taken place in the 24 years since its closure.

The bridge has an interesting history though: Built in 1901, the double bascule bridge (the type most famously seen at Tower Bridge in London) was originally powered by a high pressure water main, maintained by the first public power distribution company in the world.

By selecting this location for installing the piece, the work both praises the city’s innovative past and critiques its dilapidated present, engaging with graffiti writers of the past and inspiring those of the future to “draw!” Viewers who look closely might notice the boy has a pencil taped to the end of his toy sword.

An advocate for art in the public space, Lindsey is ArtAround's director and the Digital Content Editor for Art21, non-profit producers of films about contemporary art. She holds a BA in journalism and art history from NYU and an MS in the history of art & design from Pratt Institute, where she wrote her master's thesis on street art theory.
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