Art & Artists

Banksy Sends Inflatable Migrant Raft Into Glastonbury Crowd

July 1, 2024 at 12:13
DALL·E 2024-07-01 14.12.01 - A vibrant digital illustration depicting an inflatable raft filled with migrant dummies being launched into a crowd during a live music set at Glaston.webp
At Glastonbury, Banksy launched an inflatable raft with migrant dummies into the crowd during an Idles' set, highlighting immigration issues amid ongoing scrutiny of UK immigration policies.

The Glastonbury Festival, founded by Michael Eavis in 1970, is renowned for its eclectic mix of music and arts, drawing over 200,000 attendees with its diverse performances spread across more than 80 stages. Known for its vibrant atmosphere and iconic Pyramid Stage, Glastonbury embodies a spirit of community, creativity, and environmental consciousness.

This year, the festival featured a poignant performance by artist Marina Abramović, who led the crowd in seven minutes of silence to mark a "dark moment in human history." Later that evening, the festival witnessed a surprise stunt by the elusive street artist Banksy, known for his provocative murals and graffiti.

During a set by the British band Idles, an inflatable raft resembling those used by migrants to cross oceans appeared in the crowd. The raft, filled with dummies mimicking migrants, was part of Banksy's latest art piece. The Guardian, which first reported the stunt, noted that the band was unaware of Banksy's plan until it unfolded.

The inflatable raft made its appearance during the song "Danny Nedelko," which addresses immigration issues with lyrics like: "Fear leads to panic, panic leads to pain / Pain leads to anger, anger leads to hate." The performance highlighted the ongoing debates around immigration and the plight of migrants.

On Sunday, Banksy confirmed his involvement by posting a video of the raft during the Idles' set. This latest piece continues his exploration of immigration themes, reminiscent of previous works, such as the ship emblazoned with his signature image of a girl reaching for a heart-shaped life float.

Banksy's stunt comes amid heightened scrutiny of UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's immigration policies. Sunak's government has faced criticism for plans to deport asylum seekers who arrive illegally in the UK to Rwanda, a policy viewed controversially even within his own Conservative Party.

By staging this stunt at Glastonbury, Banksy once again used his art to spotlight urgent social issues, blending performance with powerful political commentary, and adding another layer of significance to the festival's already rich tapestry of artistic expression.