There Is Always Hope

A lot of sad things can happen to a child. But a balloon of love floating away? That’s brutal.

This is another work of stencil graffiti by Banksy, the UK graffiti art phenomenon. (He also did the homeless man holding a sign “Keep Your Coins, I Want Change,” the subject of an earlier posting). It appears on a wall in the South Bank of London.

At first glance, this is almost painful to witness, with the child grasping fruitlessly at the air. But notice the graffitied writing off to the side: “There is always hope.” Comforting words.

I couldn’t decide initially if this graffiti was political in its message. I considered that perhaps the child represented some sort of hope for the future. I considered that the balloon could be a symbol of everything good in society, and since it’s floating away, the message would be that “there is always hope” for improvement, progress, and change for the better.

But I don’t know. Those both feel too contrived. I’m getting the “Really? You’re getting THAT out of THIS” feeling I get when art in any of its forms is too overanalyzed.

So I’m taking this work of street art at face value and saying its simply a message about the human spirit, which despite its best intentions in times of chaos, sorrow, or turmoil, can’t help but to hope.

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