Ronald McDonald and Mickey Mouse

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In 2004 Banksy produced a provocative work featuring Ronald McDonald and Mickey Mouse merrily holding a terrified, naked girl’s hands on each side. The image of the girl was reproduced from a photograph of a napalm bombing of a Vietnamese village in 1972, which provoked worldwide horror and condemnation at the conduct of the war. The work was originally made on cartridge paper and has been exhibited internationally.

This satirical work is an attack on the consumerism that occupies the attention of the American people and keeps them blind to the way their foreign policy is conducted. It also points to how consumerism keeps the population blind to more pressing concerns generally. History provides numerous examples of populations that have been pacified with entertainment to distract them from social injustices. Banksy also invites the observer to ponder the commercialization of war itself, which is now a multi-billion dollar industry with very powerful corporate lobbies. Peace, love and empathy for fellow human beings are the sustenance of life, and these things cannot be bought.

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