He might have been born in Bristol (alledgedly), but Banksy is no stranger to the streets of London. Now the world’s most elusive street artist has popped up in Croydon with a surprise installation – and it includes a Union Jack-emblazoned stab vest, just like the one he made for local boy Stormzy to wear during his headline slot at Glastonbury.
The mock-shop on Surrey Street is adorned with the title ‘Gross Domestic Product™’, and its window display features a cot surrounded by CCTV cameras, a nightmarish tiger-skin rug ‘painted to resemble the diabetes-ridden corpse of Tony the Tiger’, a pair of cushions bearing the phrase ‘life’s too short to take advice from a cushion’ (mood) and a wooden ‘early learning’ toy set depicting a group of refugees climbing into a truck.
Stormzy’s stab vest also features in the display, alongside a plaque explaining that the customised body armour is ‘a version of the “John Bull” English gent’s waistcoat updated for modern times.’ Yikes.
Fans of the mystery man’s dark humour can check out the installation underneath the local branch of PureGym. Who knows what further prankery might take place there over the weekend, as Frieze London brings the art world to town? But it’s probably best to make the trek to Croydon soon, as there’s no word on how long the ‘shop’ will stay in place.
Or you could just go and check out one of the other Banksy artworks in London. Once you’ve seen one iconoclastic critique of British society under surveillance capitalism, you’ve seen ’em all.