Get the picture on mass tourism

Mysterious British artist Banksy may have shown up unannounced in Venice, Italy, to send a message on the mass tourism which is endangering much of the city.

A video posted on Banksy's Instagram account on Wednesday purports to show the secretive artist setting up an unlicensed art stall in St Mark's Square.

He sets up a piece called Venice In Oil, a series of nine oil paintings in the style of the 18th-century Venetian great Canaletto, which when placed together depict a huge cruise ship surrounded by tiny gondolas plying their way through the Venice canals.

At the end of the video, the artist figure, whose face is always hidden, is told to pack up his stall and move on by Venice police. As he wheels his work away, a towering cruise ship is shown in the background.

On his Instagram account Banksy wrote: "Setting out my stall at the Venice Biennale. Despite being the largest and most prestigious art event in the world, for some reason I have never been invited."

The prestigious Venice international art fair got under way this month.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 25, 2019, with the headline 'Get the picture on mass tourism'. Print Edition | Subscribe