sheet 69.8 x 49.5 cm. (27 1/2 x 19 1/2 in.)
frame 101 x 78.8 cm. (39 3/4 x 31 in.)
CND Soldiers is widely considered as Banksy’s most notorious anti-war work, distinctively showcasing the artist’s dark humour and anti-establishment wit. The image first cropped up directly across from the Houses...
CND Soldiers is widely considered as Banksy’s most notorious anti-war work, distinctively showcasing the artist’s dark humour and anti-establishment wit. The image first cropped up directly across from the Houses of Parliament in London in 2003, only later to be removed by authorities. It appeared in participation with British peace campaigner Brian Haw’s long-standing protest against the United Kingdom’s involvement in Iraq – a campaign of remarkable determination supported by millions.
Alluding to the present work’s title, a vibrant red symbol contrasts the monochromatic background and figures. Initially designed as the logo for the British Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), it has since become the international symbol for peace. In CND Soldiers, Banksy’s inclusion of the sign in dripping red overtly evokes the bloodshed of war, drawing a direct link to the officers beneath. But whilst one of the army men is on the lookout, rifle defensibly poised at the ready, the other dons a suspicious look on his face and holds a paintbrush in hand. In presenting the soldiers as activists and vandals graffitiing the wall in protest, Banksy introduces an ironic juxtaposition to question the role played by governments in their peacekeeping missions. Indeed, as one of his best-known images, CND Soldiers is a striking example of Banksy’s ability to deliver powerful messages of social importance and hope that are universally understood.