Visual Rhetoric - The power of the napalm in their hands

Essay by CoberyCollege, UndergraduateB+, November 2014

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James Ashcraft

Dr L.

ENGL 1302.41802

The Power in the Napalm of Their Hands

Art is a living thing, the many ways in which it can be interpreted are limitless. However, some would say that graffiti is not considered art. It is all too often considered the ill by-product of gang members; and it often is. However, when street art is used to deliver a political issue that can not gain much awareness through other means, it seems more justifiable. When used this way, street art becomes not about the individual tagging, but about something bigger, they are taking up a cause. Banksy has an fascinating piece of street art that has Ronald McDonald and Mickey Mouse with a starving child in between them. Banksy's controversial art is so good because the art reveals underlying issues in our society that dont get much attention otherwise. The characters that were chosen, along with the juxtaposition of these characters, work together to expose the false advertisement that is "the world is a wonderful, carefree place" propagated by these corporations.

In the image, Mickey Mouse's bow tie and pants, Ronald McDonald's clothes; are yellow. While comparatively, the child has no color whatsoever. Mickey and Ronald are holding the child by the wrists. It would seem that they are all smiling, but the expression on the child's face is more one of crying.

The artist of the piece is Banksy. He is an English street artist who remains anonymous. He is known for making street art based off political and humanitarian issues. This piece is making a political statement reflecting the imbalance of power as well as the social issues of capitalism. Mickey Mouse and Ronald McDonald are symbols known around the globe. Mickey Mouse representing Disney and Ronald McDonald; McDonald's.