Waiting for Banksy

09 May
August 2009, Bristol Museum and Art Gallery

There are some days in life that you’ll regret; commonsense says you will never get those hours back. If you’re lucky hindsight makes sense of the experience, and so it was in the case of a visit to the Banksy exhibition

Joining the queue with two friends at 8am on the last Sunday morning, to finally get in at 2.30 in the afternoon, was at times a dispiriting experience save for spending time with good friends. As an obsessive documentary photographer I was, of course, carrying my battered old Nikon to record the day out for my sketchbook diary.

Was the six and half hour wait worth it? Undoubtedly: funny, provocative, thoughtful and inspiring, the show was of international interest. Being part of the scene for a day justified the pain.

Some time later hindsight kicked in. The realisation that, in a small way, the photographs marked a moment in art history. Looking at the contact sheets revealed a truly inclusive demographic, babes in arms, pensioners, range of social classes, broad ethnicity, all brought together by a democratic artist who had come from the streets and into the main stream, leaping the class divide between vandal and establishment.

We waited, we got in, we admired the work and the ideology, but of course we are no closer to knowing the artist. We are still waiting for Banksy.