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Banksy first showcased Injured Buddha at The Cans Festival in London in 2008. This festival took place at Leake Street, also known as the “Banksy Tunnel,” which is situated beneath the Waterloo Station in London. Graffiti artists were invited to join Banksy to express their creativity during this festival.
This stenciled work features Buddha meditating in the lotus position with a black eye, bloody nose, neck brace, and bandaged left hand. He is featured with a halo surrounding his head and is sitting peacefully on a pillow, behind a stringed curtain. This work symbolizes the triumph of the mind over emotions, and at the immense power within each person when emotions are under control. Rather than seek vengeance on whoever has harmed him, he has instead decided to meditate to clear his mind of negative thoughts. The radiating halo symbolizes his saintly demeanor. The position of his hands, with the right palm raised facing out and his left hand laying against his body, represents protection, peace, and fearlessness in the Buddhist tradition. The stringed curtain indicates that the attainment of enlightenment, represented by the Buddha, is accessible to all.