In Photos: Banksy Returns With Mural Criticizing Treatment of Calais Refugees

A man views a Banksy artwork opposite the French embassy in London, January 25. The graffiti, which depicts a young girl from the musical ‘Les Miserables’ with tears in her eyes as CS gas moves towards her, criticizes the use of tear gas in the ‘Jungle’ migrant camp in Calais. Carl Court/Getty

It's been a busy year for British street artist Banksy. The August 2015 opening of Dismaland, a collection of politically driven works in a sinister remake of the Disneyland theme park, was followed in January by a drawing of Steve Jobs carrying a 1980s Apple computer and a traveling sack. The accompanying caption—"The son of a migrant from Syria"—depicted him as a Syrian refugee.

Now the underground guerrilla artist is back with his latest mural depicting the Syrian refugee crisis. The artwork, which appeared overnight on Saturday opposite the French embassy in Knightsbridge, London, shows a young girl from the hugely successful film and musical Les Misérables crying as tear gas engulfs her.

Banksy's latest work is a direct comment on actions taken by authorities in the French port city of Calais to remove refugees from the camp. Since the beginning of January, French authorities have fired tear gas, let off concussion grenades, and shot rubber bullets, mainly at night. In a YouTube video posted on January 6 by charity Calais Migrant Solidarity, which is based in the French port city, refugees are being threatened by all of these tools.

In a first for Banksy, the painting of the young girl also includes a QR code—an interactive code that allows onlookers to view an online video—of a police raid on the Calais camp on January 5.

Some fear that Banksy's latest work will be ruined, after the Steve Jobs artwork was defaced by graffiti and torn down, The Guardian reports. One Twitter user tweeted a photograph of the recent efforts on the Les Misérables piece.

It looks like someone may have tried to rip the #Banksy mural off the shop front

— Kate Ferguson (@kateferguson4) January 25, 2016

We take a look at Banksy's busy year of politically driven murals.

The artist returned in January with this mural of Steve Jobs carrying a 1980s Apple computer and a traveling sack accompanied by the caption: “The son of a migrant from Syria.” The artwork referenced the Apple co-founder’s origin story: Jobs was born to a Syrian father from Homs and put up for adoption in San Francisco when he was an infant. Carl Court/Getty
This work appeared in Banksy’s “Dismaland” exhibition, which opened on August 21, 2015. More than one million refugees and asylum seekers crossed the Mediterranean to reach Europe in 2015.
A mural of a playful-looking kitten painted on the remains of a house that witnesses said was destroyed by Israeli shelling during the 50-day war in 2014, Biet Hanoun, northern Gaza Strip, February 26, 2015. Banksy also posted a mini-documentary on his site showing squalid conditions in Gaza six months after the end of the war between the enclave’s Islamist Hamas rulers and Israel. Suhaib Salem/Reuters
As part of his work in the northern Gaza Strip in February 2015, Banksy left his mark on three slabs of rubble left from Israel’s 50-day war with Hamas, the Islamic group that controls Gaza. Suhaib Salem/Reuters
This artwork appeared on the side of a house in Cheltenham, England, in April 2014. It shows three stencil figures listening in on a conversation in an existing telephone box and is just a few miles away from Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), which is responsible for providing intelligence and information assurance to the British Government and Armed Forces. Matt Cardy/Getty
Back in December 22, 2011, Banksy painted a billboard on a wall near the Canary Wharf financial district in London, bearing the simple message: “Sorry! The lifestyle you ordered is currently out of stock.” Finbarr O'Reilly/Reuters
Another piece in “Dismaland” showing a youth pushing a paper towards the British Prime Minister David Cameron.