Banksy’s Flying Copper flies into our Selections auction this November
Banksy’s Flying Copper is an early iconic image that has been made into original paintings, prints and stencils thrown up on walls all over the world. The image presents a winged officer fully clad in riot gear, donning the disarming and friendly visage of a smiley face. The bright, simply-drawn Smiley presents such a childlike design of contentment that it is ripe for subversion, having been associated with both the acceptance and vilification of 1960s/1970s peace ideals and 1980s/1990s acid house culture (not to mention hundreds of other positive and negative pop culture appropriations). Here the symbolism of the smiley face sits in interesting juxtaposition to assault rifle and armor – oppression and threat behind a friendly face. In a way, the print is perhaps more relevant than ever. In a climate where police violence on citizens is becoming more common and systemic, Flying Copper captures the duality between peace keeper and danger, reminding us to be skeptical of those with authority and power.
Banksy 'Flying Copper'
Screenprint in colours, 2004, on wove, limited edition numbered 253/600 in pencil, published by Pictures on Walls, London, the full sheet, 989 x 690mm (38 7/8 x 27 1/8in)