Banksy Umbrella Girl, which is also titled and known as Rain Girl and Nola Girl with Umbrella is a graffiti work by the artist that he executed on the corner of a drop-in centre in New Orleans. One of the most significant facts about Banksy Nola is that it is the last surviving graffiti work by Banksy, since the rest have been painted over or removed by other means. Banksy painted this piece in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina (3 years to be precise), which devastated New Orleans and sparked socio-political debates because of the inadequate response of the federal government to the natural disaster.
The work depicts in monochrome (black graffiti over white concrete), a melancholy young girl holding an umbrella under heavy rain, which upon a closer look reveals its source to be not outside but inside the umbrella. The girl is holding out her hand to check if it’s pouring outside the umbrella too.
This work has left a deep and lasting impact on the people of the city of New Orleans. Some citizens of New Orleans have even appropriated Banksy’s gift and message to the people of the city by getting it tattooed on their skin.
Making use of the artist’s own disclosure about the work, Nola can be understood as a heartbreaking symbol for the sad truth that sometimes, the very things that are supposed to protect us, actually end up harming us. Whether this dark reality manifests itself in the form of governments and institutions or technology and even other human beings, Nola is philosophically relevant and fecund while carrying with it a universal appeal. Hurricane Katrina left a profound scar on the city’s collective memory and Nola is a symbolic acknowledgment of that pain and the sense of betrayal, which many in the city share to this day.
It is important to remember where Nola was painted to understand some nuances as well. Banksy is attempting to connect with the people of New Orleans, show his empathy and that he understands what they felt.
Nola carries with it a sense of hope too and it isn’t just an artistic exploration of the philosophical idea described above. Independent of what the work means to the art critic or even the artist’s own intentions, Nola must have some optimistic quality to it, since hope is exactly what most of them felt when they entered their city after hurricane Katrina and saw Nola the Rain Girl for the first time. That very connection with the people of New Orleans is proven by the fact that they made efforts to preserve it by screwing plexiglass on it.
Specialists in Banksy prints and urban art, Contemporary Art Trader can help you find your very own, authentic Nola, signed or unsigned. For any queries you may have, contact us today.