By Shelly Winifred Barger
SAVING BANKSY, a documentary that screened last week as part of the Nashville Film Festival, delivers insightful dialogue that challenges attitudes around the interplay of art and ownership.
Street art is a fantastic vehicle that explodes our attitudes about what constitutes art, art value, and the role of artists and their art works. The creations of Banksy have provided a well-known arena where we get a little uncomfortable with our attitudes about artistic expression, our ethics, and art objects.
My only gripe with SAVING BANKSY is its exclusion of women’s roles in street art and how it lacks feminine perspective on the street art phenomenon. Whether you’re an art expert or a street artist, this is important because there are a number of stellar female street artists missing from this discussion. For example, much of the film covers the Banksy phenomenon in San Francisco, but missing from the narrative is a woman known as “Rojo,” a well-known talent in the San Francisco area. She’s featured in an article in The Huffington Post along with nine other street artists that the writer of the article thinks are more viable than even Banksy.
But no need to have a pissing contest. Let’s just be inclusive and learn about some incredibly creative, revolutionary artists! The beauty of street art is that it moves away from being click-ish — it is not exclusive art only to be enjoyed by a select few who have tons of disposable income — it belongs to everyone and can be created by anyone, regardless of education, socioeconomic status, race, and gender. This is why including women in stories like SAVING BANKSY is so vital.
The film team that produced SAVING BANKSY graciously answered some questions at the close of the film viewing at the festival. When asked how the street artists who are featured in the film were chosen, the art collector who removed and preserved a piece of Banksy’s street art known as the “Haight Street Rat” noted that he regrets that the film lacks the voice of at least one female artist.
One of the film’s producers who decided which street artists would be asked to be interviewed for the doc said that he chose artists who were well-known, well-respected in the street artist community, and had longevity in street art experience. That’s legit. But now let’s bring attention to Adele Renault. You can take a look at some of her work here.
Renault will contribute her talent to a group show set to accompany the “Haight Street Rat” piece by Banksy, which will be on display right here in Music City from May 7 to May 28. Renault and a group of talented artists will be painting on buildings located in downtown Nashville. More information about this unique art event can be found here.