Jesus Christ with Shopping Bags

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In 2005 Banksy produced Jesus Christ with Shopping Bags, a stenciled work depicting Jesus Christ crucified and with outstretched arms holding shopping bags. The image features a haloed Jesus in black and white, with his body and shopping bags melting, with a gray background.

In this work Banksy is criticizing the commercialism in society and in particular of Christmas. Rather than being a time of focusing on the Christian values of love, charity, compassion and forgiveness, Christmas has become a time of personal gratification through materialistic consumption. In the shopping bags one can see wrapped presents, a candy cane, and part of a Mickey Mouse doll, emphasizing how this holiday season, which is supposed to celebrate the birth of Jesus, has come to represent consumerism. This contrasts with the teaching of Jesus, who criticized the focus on material things at the expense of moral and spiritual development. The melting objects represent the ephemeral joy brought by material things, and the gray background conveys the gloominess in people’s lives when they are devoid of love, compassion, charity and other intangible values. The crucifixion represents how people sacrifice themselves for material things, which ultimately do not bring satisfaction.

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