Banksy has unveiled a new mural highlighting the fight against domestic violence on the morning of Valentine’s Day, drawing applause from fans around the world who praised the artist for not forgetting the reality of abuse on this supposedly romantic day.
Titled Valentine’s Day mascara, the work appeared overnight on a white brick wall in the British seaside town of Margate, one of the most economically deprived areas of Kent.
It depicts a woman dressed as a 1950s housewife tossing a man into a real abandoned freezer, around which Banksy created the work. The woman in a blue checkered dress, apron and yellow household rubber gloves has a broken tooth and a black eye probably caused by a punch. She appears to be enacting her revenge on her abuser, while only his legs are visible, sticking out from the end of the freezer.
The work went live on the elusive artist’s Instagram page on Tuesday morning, and garnered more than half a million likes within a couple of hours. Many have left comments praising the artist for drawing attention to the issue.
Levels of domestic violence rose during the pandemic lockdowns, and the most recent Crime Survey for England and Wales estimated that 5 percent of adults aged 16 years and above—6.9 percent women and 3 percent men—experienced domestic abuse in the year ending March 2022, equating to 2.4 million adults.
“Sheeeessssh but that’s some people’s reality,” one user wrote on Instagram. “Fighting violence used against women. Even on Valentine’s Day. Always!” wrote another user.
Another speculated if there were other hidden messages behind the work. “Anyone else notice the Ukrainian colors? I think that’s the message,” another user pointed out.
One user guessed if Banksy was female. Another shared their horrible accounts of domestic violence and abuse their family experienced. “Anyone who’s experiencing abuse—get help, get out, get free,” the user wrote.
If you or someone you know is being abused, support and help are available.