The current situation in Paris is increasingly distressing and upsetting. Naturally, many have taken to social media platforms to give their condolences and show their support for the people of France. In the early hours of this morning, two influential artists, the infamous Banksy and French graphic designer Jean Jullien, posted a extremely potent ‘peace for Paris’ illustration on twitter.
The image (above), now spreading virally across the internet, displays a fusion of the well known peace symbol and the Eiffel tower. It advocates for peace, not only in Paris, but across the world, however, instead of focussing on this and the incredible political significance of this symbol, a pitifully petty debate has arisen amongst some on twitter about whose the work really is. Whilst there is importance in correctly crediting artists and creators for their work, there is a time and a place to debate these artistry credits, and it is not now.
In a time of international mourning, it is vastly inappropriate to debate such things and it acts as a distraction from the real tragedy. I think it is safe to say that, at the time of posting, the artists were relatively unconcerned with the publication of their work with the correct artistry credits and more with the actual situation. Many other artists also put pen to paper and displayed their feelings towards the attacks, and there is a clear sense of public mourning and loss.
An interesting response to the #prayforparis was posted by Joann Sfar, a French cartoonist, on his Instagram page at 1am this morning thanking the world for their support but stating that “we don’t need more religion!… #ParisisaboutLife.” This image is yet another one that has already attracted criticism from social media users. Many have defended the hashtag, claiming the innocence of the use of the word “pray” in this context, and many have retweeted and shared the post in appreciation and agreement with Sfar’s sentiments. Discussion is naturally innate on social media, but nothing can draw away from the emotive power of the artworks and the true intentions of the artists; to voice their sympathies for the atrocities committed yesterday in Paris and to show solidarity: “Nous sommes tous les Parissiens.”
To see the full album of artwork on the AJ+ Facebook Page
The Liberal Cynics would like to offer our own condolences for those who have lost loved ones in the attacks and our thoughts remain with the people of Paris.