A politically charged painting of Nativity scene known as the “Banksy Christmas card” is making its rounds on the Internet again this week.
The painting is believed to be a work by the controversial British graffiti artist Banksy, an anonymous England-based street artist, vandal, political activist, and film director.
The image features what appears to be the New Testament’s Joseph and Mary blocked from reaching Bethlehem (the Palestinian city purported to be the site of Jesus’ birth) by the Israeli West Bank barrier.
The “Christmas card” has been around since at least 2005.
British pop star Robbie Williams bought the painting that year for $44,000 after seeing it in a gallery, and snapped it up for his Chelsea home.
It appears to enjoy something of a viral resurgence every December, and this year is no exception.
Banksy has on a number of occasions expressed his political views regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through his art.
In 2005, for instance, the mysterious artist traveled to Palestine, where he painted nine images on the West Bank wall.
In 2007, he visited Bethlehem to add more art to the wall.
Those works included a graffitied image of a dove wearing a bullet-proof vest.
Banksy’s documentary film Exit Through the Gift Shop (2010) made its debut at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival.
In January 2011, he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary for the film.
In 2014, he was awarded Person of the Year at the 2014 Webby Awards.