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Barcode Leopard (4), 2002


Barcode Leopard, 2002
Stencil spray-paint and emulsion on canvas
70×70 cm (27 9/16 x 27 9/16 inches)
From a series, unique in this format
Stencil-signed “BANKSY” on the turnover edge
Bonhams London: 29 June 2016
GBP 158,500 / USD 221,199

Barcode Leopard, shows a majestic leopard in the foreground who just escaped from his cage, resembling a barcode on wheels. At first sight, this print is a clear criticism on the way humans use animals for their own entertainment, having created zoos or sea-parks.
The barcode serves as a symbol of consumerism and capitalism. Indeed, it was introduced in the 1970’s to standardize consumer’s products, in order to make people purchase more in a faster and more efficient manner. The leopard is demonstrating the ability we all have to free ourselves from the power of consumerism.
Furthermore, another interpretation links the choice of the leopard and the barcode by their unique character. Just as all leopards have a unique pattern of spots, all barcodes have unique combinations too. The big cat embodies the diversity of form, whereas the notion of consumerism suggested through the image of the barcode evokes homogeneity.
Barcode first appeared on the side of a house on Pembroke Road in Bristol. The stencil was quickly removed from the wall but reappeared a few years after on the occasion of an exhibit in Somerset. Banksy also realized many originals with this iconic stencil.

Variations Sold at Auction


Barcode Leopard, 2002
Spray-paint and emulsion on canvas
64.8 x 81.3 cm (25 1/2 x 32 inches)
From a series, unique in this format
Stencil-signed “BANKSY” lower left
Phillips London: 3 July 2014
GBP 86,400

Barcode Leopard, 2002
Spray-paint and acrylic on canvas
84 x 91.5 cm (33×36 inches)
From a series, unique in this format
Stencil-signed “BANKSY” lower right
Bloomsbury Auctions London: 5 December 2013
GBP 117,800

Leopard and Barcode, 2002
Stencil Spray-paint on canvas
43×51 cm (16 15/16 x 20 1/16 inches)
Edition of 5
Stencil-signed “BANKSY” on the overlap
Further signed, dated, numbered /5, and inscribed “LA” on the reverse
Bonhams London: 29 March 2012
GBP 75,650 / USD 99,195

Existencilism, 33 1/3 Gallery, Los Angeles, 2002