An anonymous graffiti artist known for his antiauthoritarian art, often done in public places. Though Banksy's identity is well guarded, he came to notice in 1993. Using stencils since 2000 to enhance his speed, he developed a distinctive iconography of highly recognizable images, such as rats and policemen, that communicated his message.
Originally designed by the artist and now an independent business, it is a fully operating hotel.
Never one to do things by halves, Banksy created Walled Off as a 10-room boutique hotel, a protest and an art gallery all at once. He hoped the venture could provide a boost in tourism and job opportunities to Bethlehem, which had suffered increasing Israeli control over travel.
The hotel features Banksy’s wall art of cheetahs in the presidential suite, unique paintings and new sculpture, including a bust engulfed by a cloud of teargas and a monkey dressed as a porter. Many of these works play on Banksy’s favourite themes, such as anti-war messages, and big cats and chimpanzees as metaphors of oppression and confinement.
Established half a year after Walled Off opened, the hotel’s gift shop offered open-edition merchandise by the artist. It was the first time in years that his new works appeared on the primary market. One of the most desirable souvenirs is the Walled Off Hotel Box Set, which includes a stencilled artwork and a chiselled piece of the West Bank Wall.