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Hippy Fight Peace vs. Love by Banksy first appeared near the Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts in 2010 on the door of a warehouse. This annual festival, heavily influenced by the hippies and counterculture of the ’60s and ’70s, is known for its music, dance, theater and other forms of artistic expression. Despite the hippy ethos of peace and love, the festival has repeatedly been marred by violence, and was cancelled in 1991 due to violence the previous year.
In this stenciled work Banksy portrays two long-haired hippies fighting each other. One has a peace sign and the other has a sign with a heart. One has been knocked to the ground and has his hand up to block the other’s attempt to strike a blow with his peace sign. Banksy thus uses irony to expose the folly of those who claim to be hippies and resort to violence to resolve disputes. Banksy also invites the observer to ponder the corruption of movements that begin with idealism and become commercialized or mainstream. Movements begun with noble ideals may become reduced to an expression of fashion or may attract social misfits seeking an identity and who lack those ideals.