The Art of Banksy: Without Limits – Exhibition Review

Street art and Melbourne have a long and colourful history. Just take a wander down Hosier Lane next to the Forum and you can experience a wide variety of artworks that change regularly. Each time I visit, there’s always something new that captures my eye. So, it only seems fitting that work from Banksy, the world’s most famous street artist has made its way to our city with The Art of Banksy: Without Limits.

The anonymous artist from London has become prominent in pop culture, made famous for their political artworks. Banksy’s art pieces have been seen throughout England, Europe, and the rest of the world for over two decades. Street art is usually finite, however.

Curated by Turkish businessman Kemal Gürkaynak, and held at The District Docklands, the touring exhibition, now in Melbourne, consists of over 180 artworks and is the largest showing of Banksy’s artwork in Australia to date. Having never seen any of Banksy’s work in person before, I was more than excited to check out this unique experience.

As I entered the space, I was greeted by a security checkpoint made from cardboard. It was the security entrance to one of Banksy’s largest pieces, ‘Dismaland’. After being ‘security screened’, there’s a full timeline of the history on the wall on Banksy. There is so much to take in, I honestly could have stayed in that one spot for ages reading up on his extensive history. But it is also a great opportunity to spot some of the artworks that you might just capture within the exhibition space. Sort of like a historical treasure hunt, tying the artwork to the timeline you see when you first walk in.

However, if you skim over the history of Banksy, not to worry. Each of the 180+ pieces within the space all have a corresponding plaque that identifies and explains the piece that you are viewing.

The first main portion of the exhibition is a continuation of the entrance with pieces from the ‘Dismaland Bemusement Park’, including a giant castle archway complete with a digital art piece of flames, lightning and images from the actual installation projected onto it. There is a selection of ’Disma Dollars’ with sad depictions of characters on American one-dollar bills.

Even though some of the political statements and anti-war pieces that Banksy has made with his artwork is well over a decade old, as I ventured around the exhibition space, I realised that sadly, some of these statements are still very relevant to today. Including, but not limited to, an entire piece on the ongoing war between Palestine and Israel.

There are plenty of works that many would be familiar with, including ‘Girl with Balloon’, ‘Flower Thrower’, ‘Kissing Coppers’ and his Pulp Fiction inspired piece. Whilst I knew that Banksy loves a good stencil piece, I never knew that he is also a brilliant painter. One piece blew me away titled, ‘Devolved Parliament’. The artwork an oil-on-canvas painting of the British House of Commons where each and every member of Parliament has been replaced with Chimpanzees.

There are more than just framed artworks with some larger pieces painted onto the walls of the exhibition and some wonderful sculptures and visual works. There’s a half-buried London Phonebooth, a hotel bed from Banksy’s piece ‘The Walled Off Hotel’ and several sculptures throughout the exhibit. There are even little hidden gems if you are looking hard enough, like a variety of rats at floor level holding various signs, with one of my favourites being a sign reading the line, “Welcome to Hell”. There’s also a full bathroom that has been taken over by the Banksy rats with a clever mirror placement to reveal a hidden piece.

At the end of the exhibit is one that really messes with your senses, a closed off projection room. It was like walking into a kaleidoscope. The floor, ceiling and walls are covered in a mirrored surface that reflect the images being displayed on the back wall. It was hypnotic and I found myself entranced by the imagery.

One thing that I enjoyed about this exhibition was listening to others as they discussed the pieces they were discovering and this is exactly what Banksy tries to do with his works. They are strong and at times, shocking political statements that above all, strike a conversation and have you questioning the world around you. Whilst this exhibition is a private collection that is not endorsed by the artist himself, I am grateful that someone has been bold and brave enough to help bring Banksy’s work to a new audience while also making it accessible for those who have never been lucky enough to be at the right place at the right time to see Banksy’s art pieces in the wild.

There is of course a gift shop at the end where you can take home a piece of memorabilia for your own home. From posters to fridge magnets and an even a detailed artbook, there is something for everyone.

The Art of Banksy: Without Limits is showing now at Melbourne’s The District Docklands. Sessions run daily from now until Saturday August 3rd. Tickets range from $41 for adults and $27 for children 12 and under.

For more information on The Art of Banksy: Without Limits and ticketing, visit:

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