News World Banksy reimagines Christmas scene with grisly Scar of Bethlehem
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Banksy reimagines Christmas scene with grisly Scar of Bethlehem

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Wissam Salsaa, manager of the Walled-Off Hotel, pictured with Banksy’s new piece, the Scar of Bethlehem. Photo: AFP
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British street artist Banksy’s adeptness in turning joyful occasions into politically charged moments of reflection has made the secretive figure a household name.

From dark comic takes on police brutality to Britain’s Brexit mess, and the odd self-destructing artwork, the artist’s ruthless commentary has won plaudits across the world.

And in true festive spirit, Banksy is now targeting Christmas.

Unveiled over the weekend, Banksy’s Scar of Bethlehem cuts right to the heart of one of the religious day’s most iconic pieces of imagery — the nativity scene.

Like the millions of replicas worldwide, Mary and Joseph preside over the crib of baby Jesus, except the shining Star of Bethlehem has been replaced with a large bullet hole piercing the concrete West Bank barrier.

The piece is currently displayed in Bethlehem’s Walled Off Hotel, the Banksy-founded guesthouse that overflows with the artist’s savage works.

“Christmas (is) known (for) the Star of Bethlehem, that led people to the birthplace of Jesus,” hotel manager Wissam Salsaa said.

“You see there is a scar. There is a hole on the wall that marks the wall and the life in Bethlehem how it is today.

“Banksy is trying to remind the world that people of Bethlehem, where Christmas was started, are not celebrating Christmas like the rest of the world.”

The hotel sarcastically trumpets having the “worst view in the world”, a reference to its proximity to the real-life grey wall.

Palestinian locals suggest the construction of the barrier in 2002 – which Israel says is necessary to prevent attacks – has instead inhibited the city, and blocked off access to neighbouring Jerusalem.

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