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Banksy's 'Girl with balloon': the graffiti that became a symbol


The enigmatic Banksy is very popular. It's easy to assume that we are all aware of the cryptic street artist whose identity is still u nknown. The artist's work has also been very influential over the years since it combines satire with political commentary on various current affairs such as war, famine, capitalism and more.

While Banksy has a number of pieces that are loved by the public, there is one 2002 piece that has achieved critical acclaim. And that is of course Banksy's Balloon girl.

or Girl with Balloon

or Girl and Balloon

It's hard to set name to Banksy's art



Firstly we must state something.

Girl with Balloon is not just an art piece. One could even say that it is a movement. It is a signature piece of Banksy and it has been used in various instances and in many interpretations.

The first version of this stencil art appeared in London in 2002 on a random wall that was passed by Londoners. I mean it's London afterwall. Every wall has a lot of passerbys. Anyway.

The second version appeared in Southbank, accompanied by the saying "The is always hope".

Furthermore, a set of prints emerged with one being auctioned in 2015 at more than 50,000 british pounds.

Moreover, in 2009, the art piece was sprayed on onto the cardboard backing of an Ikea frame and was auctioned for


On the third anniversary of the Syria conflict, Banksy reworked his signature design to protest the conflict.

This design was projected onto various international landmarks on such as the Nelson's Column.

This was followed by an animated video made by Banksy, narrated by Idris Elba that aided the anti-war protests. You can see the video by clicking here.

Shredding incident:

One of the most controversial parts of 'The girl with the balloon' 's journey has to do with its shredding.

In 2018, a 2006 painting by Banksy of 'The girl with the balloon' was being auctioned by Sotheby, an American broker of art, and obviously an enemy of Banksy according to his personal views (as seen through his art).

Moreover, while the painting was sold at a record of £18,582,000, the painting slid under the canvas and shredding itself in the awe of everyone in view.

After a number of conspiracy theories, Banksy released the video showing how he managed to build the frame that self-shredded the painting.

This is a historic moment for the world of art, as the intervention by Banksy was considered as "the first artwork in history to have been created live during an auction".


While the art piece looks very clear from the first look, it leaves a lot to interpretation.

The heart shaped balloon has been often correlated with the feeling of hope.

Moreover, I personally see this as a way Baksy makes us relate to the little girl. We have all struggled at one point of our life and have eventually lost hope.

However, other art critics see this in a more positive spin so I could be wrong.

In other versions, it is stated that Banksy showcases the innocence of childhood and how the child inside of us could be the hope we all strive to find to move forward.

This is all based on how you see it.

Does the girl lose or reach for the balloon? As you all may know critics do not mean shit. What do you see?

Maybe it is the same thing as seeing the glass half-full or half-empty.

Moreover, Guy Hepner states:

Balloons signify happiness- and Banksy makes that very clear by making it the only aspect of the image that has color. Balloons often remind us of happy occasions and celebrations. When inflated, balloons only go up- but after a short amount of time they deflate and go down- an unavoidable occurrence. This mimics the behavior of a child’s imagination. A mind that pushes beyond limits, but then eventually hits a point of adulthood and loss of that innocence.

I personally disagree but this may be due to my nihilistic nature. From this perspective, the girl is losing the balloon, and with that, she loses her grasp towards innocence.

I think it is a way to show how easy the wonders of childhood are gone and how easily an innocent soul can be destroyed.

How do you interpret this loved piece of Banksy? Let us know. \

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