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In 2007 Banksy created stenciled images on the wall of the West Bank in Bethlehem, one of which was Girl and a Soldier, featuring a young girl frisking an armed soldier with his hands against the wall. These images were intended to promote an upcoming exhibition, Santa’s Ghetto, which takes place annually for about a month and features the work of Banksy and other graffiti artists. He selected Bethlehem for the exhibit because it is said to be the birthplace of Jesus and because it is at the center of allegations of human rights abuses.
In the image the girl is wearing ponytails and a pink dress, representing purity and innocence. The soldier, in olive-green clothing and with a machine gun laying to his side, is contrasted with the young girl and represents aggression. The wall the soldier is leaning against symbolizes the divide between the Israelis and Palestinians. The frisking of the soldier represents the dehumanization of individuals as they are automatically assumed to be hostile based on their religion or ethnicity. Using irony, Banksy invites observers to contemplate the cultural barriers that prevent people from fully recognizing the humanity of others.