'Banksy Universe' opens in Manila this May 14: Here's what you need to know 2
Culture

'Banksy Universe' opens in Manila this May 14: Here's what you need to know

A new exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Manila is opening this Tuesday, May 14, and it traces the works of the famously anonymous street artist Banksy.
ANCX Staff | May 13 2024
Banksy Universe | Manila will run at the Metropolitan Museum of Manila from May 14 to November 20. Handout
Banksy Universe | Manila will run at the Metropolitan Museum of Manila from May 14 to November 20. Handout

A new exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Manila is opening this Tuesday, May 14, and it traces the works of the famously anonymous street artist Banksy.

Banksy Universe | Manila, which will run at The M until November 20, presents Banksy's street art that has surfaced in cities like London, New York, and Paris. 

The team behind the exhibition, Banksy Universe, is an anonymous group of art enthusiasts that initially wanted to protect the artist's works from getting removed in public spaces, and eventually aimed to bring his art to a wider audience. 

The Manila exhibit includes both original pieces from collectors such as framed prints and memorabilia, and recreations of Banksy's murals and other works. 

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And while the soon-to-open Banksy Universe | Manila show is not authorized or endorsed by Banksy himself (like many other Banksy exhibits around the world), organizers stressed that their goal is to celebrate his art and bring it closer to the people.

In an interview with ANCX, The M's Bambina Olivares said they are guided by Banksy's quote: "I still encourage anyone to copy, borrow, steal, and amend my art for amusement, academic research, or activism."

"There are a lot of issues that Banksy's art raises that we feel like are pertinent to the issues we face here in society," she said. "There are things that you have to talk about, and art can be transformational, art can spur change, art can raise awareness about issues."

"It (Banksy's art) deserves to be seen. And part of our mandate as an institution is to be educational," Olivares said of The M which, she also pointed out, is a non-profit. "It's also a way of elevating street art and graffiti and giving it its proper due as well."

"We just wanted to clarify that we're respectful of Banksy's work and copyright, but we also want to point out that a lot of his work is not really accessible to the public. In fact, some of these have been painted over already or destroyed so they don't exist anymore," she explained. 

"So the only way you can see this is [through exhibitions like these]... unless you travel. We're kind of bringing it here for Filipino audiences, a glimpse of Banksy's world." 

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An all-access day pass at The M (P550 each, with discounts for students, senior citizens, and persons with disabilities) is required to visit the Banksy Universe | Manila exhibit. This gives visitors access to all of the galleries at the museum.

And as their way of giving back, Banksy Universe has partnered with Childhope Philippines. Some of the prints and pieces from the exhibit will be available for purchase, with part of the proceeds from the sales going to the non-government organization, which protects and educates street kids in the country.