By Nash Jenkins
September 2, 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.

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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