Banksy’s hula-hoop girl mural is ‘what Nottingham needed’ after coronavirus uncertainty

After weeks of Nottingham having the highest Covid rate across the country and the government announcement of the city entering into Tier 2, it seems like we can finally see a spark of light at the end of the tunnel.

This spark though, it’s in the shape of a little girl hula-hooping, and the author – the worldwide artist Banksy himself. It was after we got this confirmed when we realised how much everyone needed this. How much Nottingham needed this.

As Cesar A. Cruz once said, “art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable”, and noticing the spark of hope that Banksy gave us through his painting, it shows how tense Nottingham was, and how we forgot the small things that our city has to offer.

This is, at least, what we learned today seeing people’s reactions after the great news.

“A much needed boost for Nottingham”

Antonia Gardner, a Commercial Real Estate Lawyer and also a ‘Nottingham girl’ says the mural brings joy in such uncertain times.

“I think there was some doubt about whether it was genuine at first, no one could believe it, but it was exciting and an interesting story so I took my daughter to see it on the way home from school”, the 48-year-old said.

This was also added to the excitement of her 8-year-old daughter Alexis, who noticed some similarities with girl on the wall.

“She loved it”, added Antonia, “she said the little girl looked about her age and really happy hula hooping with the bike tyre.

Alexis, 8, loves the mural and noticed some similarities to the illustration. (Credit: Antonia Gardner)

“Alexis is in year 3 at Nottingham Girls’ High School and has been telling all the girls in her class about the Banksy – creativity and progressive thinking is very much at the forefront of the school’s ethos so they’re all very interested. It’s amazing for our city to be part of Banksy’s canon of work.”

Mum and daughter, happy to find the news about Banksy’s visit in Nottingham. (Credit: Antonia Gardner)

Antonia said Backy’s visit could help raising the area’s profile after the bad reputation of having the highest rate of coronavirus in the UK.

“Raleigh is part of Nottingham history, and lately we’ve been in the news for the wrong reasons, probably most obviously as having the highest COVID rates in the country”, she added.

“Nottingham’s diverse, resilient and we’ll get through this. Having the Banksy confirmed as genuine has given us a much needed boost, it’s amazing. Very grateful.”

“I just hope it stays protected for everyone to enjoy”

Paul Smith, a PE teacher who lives outskirts of Nottingham, also recognises the power of art in such difficult times.

Paul, 39, says the painting enhances the beauty of the city. (Paul Smith)

“Banksy is an iconic legend in the world of art. This piece which is featured on a side wall in Nottingham is fantastic for our city”, he said.

After cynical suspicions about whether the mural was made by the famous artist himself, many locals were relieved to get this confirmed.

Banksy confirms works are his only by posting on his Instagram page, which he has done for this piece. (Source: Instagram)

“It was great news to hear this morning that he had claimed it through his own Instagram social media platform”, Paul adds.

“I just hope it stays protected for everyone to enjoy.”

“It’s really nice that Nottingham has been blessed by Banksy”

Ross Swift, a local Content Designer, said he was happy to see a new impressed by the when he first saw the painting, regardless the cynical rumours around its authenticity.

“I was in the car and heard about the ‘suspected Banksy’ artwork on radio

“I didn’t have much time before work, but as soon as I heard about this and I was only around the corner, I thought ‘I’ll kick myself if I don’t go and see it!’”, the 35-year-old added.

“I’ll kick myself if I don’t go and see it”, said Ross.

“So I stopped by early on, on Thursday morning. There was only one other person there at the time, and it was still intact.

“Seeing it up close so soon after the news broke was so exciting, even though it hadn’t been confirmed as a genuine Banksy. And I thought at the time it’s brilliant, whoever did it“.

Ross said the artwork enhances the historical importance of the city, aspect which makes the painting unique.

“It has a to Nottingham’s history, with the local Raleigh connection nearby. And to think Banksy may just have been there the evening before, creating this work”, he added.

“I was then looking out all day for it to be confirmed, but it started to look pessimistic when experts cast doubt over it being a Banksy, as it had some inconsistencies with recent pieces.

“So given there was no word by Friday I thought ‘oh well, it was nice to have experienced, and a great piece of art by someone’.”

But this changed this morning (October 17), when Banksy has officially announced that he’s been there.

“It was such a thrill, to be lucky enough to have seen it on the morning it was discovered”, Ross added when remembering his first reaction to the Banksy’s post.

“I think great to have this excitement in the city at this time, when there’s so much doom and gloom, and the spotlight is on Nottingham for other reasons, with the acceleration in case of the virus.”

“It’s really nice that Nottingham has been blessed by Banksy, after an earlier hoax!”

By Olimpia Zagnat

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