No, Banksy Didn't Create That 'Charlie Hebdo' Tribute Cartoon, But That Doesn't Mean You Can't Appreciate It
Following the deadly shootings at Charlie Hebdo , a French satirical magazine with a history of lampooning religious extremism, cartoonists came out in droves to support those who were killed Wednesday in the best way they knew how: with their own set of tribute cartoons. Artists from The Independent, The Washington Post, and more published visual depictions of their reaction to the news of the attack, which took the lives of 12 people, a death toll that included four prominent cartoonists. (Charlie Hebdo editor Stephane Charbonnier was perhaps the most high-profile of those killed Wednesday.) And — for those who flocked to Facebook, Instagram, and other forms of social media Wednesday — it appeared that Banksy had dedicated his own cartoon to the tragedy. But, come Wednesday night, fans of the elusive street artist would be disappointed to learn that, no, Banksy likely did not draw the stunning pencil image.
Though it at first appeared as though the artist was responsible for the cartoon after it surfaced on a Banksy Instagram account, it's believed that the account does not belong to Banksy himself. Not only because Banksy's official website insists that the artist keeps off social media — specifically referencing his lack of a Facebook or Twitter account (this short-lived Instagram was the only account that was ever linked to Banksy) — but also, as Business Insider notes, the cartoon image is far too low-res for an artist with Banksy's notoriety. Writes the site:
Another clue that points to the image being fake is its file size. The image uploaded to the fake Banksy social media posts is pixelated and low-resolution. Banksy is an artist who makes a living from exhibiting his work, he wouldn't want his work to be displayed in a way that makes it look bad.
That said, the image itself is striking, and a fitting tribute to those who have passed on following the shootings in Paris. So, though it's possible Banksy did not design the cartoon (and only leaves you wondering what kind of tribute Banksy would publish), it's worth digesting, appreciating, and using it to remember that violence will never quell freedom of speech.