Banksy’s Latest Work Explained

The zookeeper symbolizes how crazy the world has become.

The flower the zookeeper is holding symbolizes hope. The fact that the flower is yellow is meaningless.

The atomic bomb and the peace sign painted on it symbolize out-of-control military spending and irony, respectively.

John Lennon’s portrait is there to give the whole thing some visual balance.

The faded text reading “The End Is Nigh” is a reminder that there are lots of cool words out there, and we don’t need to keep using the same ones over and over.

The young girl on the swing set symbolizes innocence. It’s a good symbol for innocence, when you think about it, because she’s so young that she probably hasn’t had the chance to do anything seriously bad yet. The swing set is so she’s not just standing there.

The SWAT team member symbolizes that the zookeeper may be more than what he seems.

The U.S. Capitol with a red X over it symbolizes that the capitol didn’t turn out right.

The nun holding hands with Mickey Mouse symbolizes religion and entertainment’s twin roles as cultural diversions. The large text reading “Religion and Entertainment Are Similar in That They’re Both Cultural Diversions” signifies a nun holding hands with Mickey Mouse.

The Buckingham Palace guard is a reminder that there probably isn’t anything of serious value inside Buckingham Palace.

The No Parking sign symbolizes state authority, and how it’s generally pretty reasonable.

The jug of gasoline’s meaning is unclear. Nevertheless, it will be a potential asset to the zookeeper, the SWAT team member, or Mickey Mouse, should they fight.

Chairman Mao. Now here’s the meat of the painting. As head of the People’s Republic of China from its 1949 inception until his death in 1976, Mao Zedong brutalized his people, suppressed political dissent and oversaw horrific government initiatives including the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution. More to the point, he is, for unknown reasons, the dictator millennials are most okay with.

The woman wearing a burqa with a smiley face pin is something Banksy was pretty sure he hadn’t done yet.