Is Banksy Actually Massive Attack's Robert Del Naja?

Sep 02, 2016

Say what you will about the pseudonymous guerrilla artist Banksy, but chances are, you've probably wondered at one point or another who he (or she) really is.

The latest theory to gain traction: Banksy is in fact Robert Del Naja, one of the three members of the electronic hip-hop trio Massive Attack.

The theory appears to originate with the research of a 31-year-old British journalism graduate student named Craig Williams, who first presented his case in a blog post back in January. Drawing from rumors circulating in Italy, Williams noted that Banksy and Del Naja — himself a known graffiti artist — had been linked in the past, then went on to provide more compelling evidence. Banksy's work famously crops up randomly around the world, aligned with no set schedule — except, apparently, with the schedule of Massive Attack's tours, Williams observed.

He lists dozens of locations across the globe where the appearance of Banksy murals and Massive Attack tours seem to have coincided, including the band's September 2006 show at Los Angeles' Hollywood Bowl, which came a week and a half after a Banksy stunt at Disneyland, and Massive Attack's residency in New York in the fall of 2013 coincided with the appearance of Banksy's mural The Street Is in Play.

See Banksy’s Art From Around the World

New Banksy 'earring' mural appears in Bristol Harbourside
The new Banksy depicting the painting 'Girl with a Pearl Earring' by Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer is see on a wall in Bristol Harbourside, England on Oct. 20, 2014.Paul Green—Demotix/Corbis
New Banksy 'earring' mural appears in Bristol Harbourside
Graffiti art is seen on a wall near the headquarters of Britain's eavesdropping agency, GCHQ, in Cheltenham, western England
Banksy - 911 Tribute in TriBeCa
British Street Artist Banksy Continues His Month-Long New York City Residency
Banksy: 'Better Out Than in' NY Exhibition
New Banksy, Yellow Lines Flower Painter on Pollard Street
General Views of Jerusalem
British Guerrilla Artist Decorates West Bank Barrier
A Palestinian boy walks past a drawing by British graffiti artist Banksy near the Kalandia ...
British Guerrilla Artist Decorates West Bank Barrier
Artwork by the artist Banksy is shown on a wall during the Sundance Film Festival in Park City
Banksy Graffiti Murals Pop Up Around New Orleans, Including Levee Wall
A graffiti attributed to secretive Briti
Banksy Graffiti Art On West Bank Barrier
Banksy's 14th Piece for His New York Residency
Banksy In LA
Banksy Maid Artwork Appears In Camden
Graffiti art is seen on a wall next to the Regent's Canal in Camden in London
Bansky Graffitti Artwork Appears In London
Banksy Street Artwork In London
New Banksy Artworks Appear In London
Murals In Bristol As The Twentieth Century Society Campaign To Save The UK's Best Murals
Britain Banksy
World's First Urban Art Sale
BRITAIN-ART-BANKSY-RETROSPECTIVE
Asian elephant, painted by British underground artist Banksy, is displayed at "Barely Legal" exhibition in Los Angeles
USA - Business - Valentine's Day (RED) Sotheby's Auction in New York City
Street art, East London, London, UK, 12/12/2004
Street art, East London, London, UK, 30/11/2005
The new Banksy depicting the painting 'Girl with a Pearl Earring' by Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer is see on a wall in
... VIEW MORE

Paul Green—Demotix/Corbis
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More recently, however, Williams has backpedaled. In a blog post dated Aug. 28, he posits that Banksy is not one person, but rather an artistic collective — albeit one in which Del Naja could be a core member.

"I'm pretty annoyed at how this has come out as me basically saying that it's 3D," he told the Sydney Morning Herald, using Del Naja's stage name. "I wanted to focus more on the idea that it's a group of artists who share common themes, mirroring the idea suggested in Shakespeare scholarship circles — that such a large body of work was done by many hands rather than one."

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