Sorry, Banksy. It’s our fault you’ve been unmasked (and here’s how we did it)

The Independent was first to reveal the identity of the UK’s most notorious street artist in 2003 – and it shattered an art world taboo, writes Ryan Coogan. Did we make a mistake?

Tuesday 21 November 2023 14:11
<p>A public work by Banksy, the globally famous street artist from Bristol </p>

A public work by Banksy, the globally famous street artist from Bristol

The true identity of elusive, enigmatic graffiti artist Banksy has never been officially revealed. But in the three decades since he started covering the urban landscape with satirical murals – of parachuting rats with briefcases, and teddy bears lobbing Molotov cocktails at riot police – many a column inch has been spent discussing who he might really be.

Now, a rare audio recording has resurfaced in which Banksy himself appears to confirm his identity – and it’s all thanks to the Independent.

In the interview, first aired on BBC Radio 4 some 20 years but which has been dusted off now for a bonus episode of the Banksy Story podcast, the globally famous street artist is confronted by PM presenter Nigel Wrench, who asks: “Are you happy for me to use your name? I mean, The Independent has…”

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in