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Napalm, 2004


Napalm, 2004
Oil and emulsion on canvas
91.5×91.5 cm (36×36 inches)
Signed and dated “October 2004” on the stretcher


Banksy: The unauthorized retrospective, S/2 London, Curated by Steve Lazarides, 2014


 “Can’t Beat That Feeling”

Banksy reinvents the Pulitzer Prize-winning image of this 9-year-old girl, fleeing a napalm blast naked in fear. By wittingly adding alongside two icons of American consumer culture, Mickey Mouse and Ronald McDonald, the artist creates a sickening juxtaposition with the image of Kim screaming in pain from the napalm burns.
Napalm comments not just on the horrors of the Vietnam war, but of the then recent US-led invasion of Irak in 2003. The comparison of one of the most provocative and horrifying photograph of war with two symbols of American culture highlights the commodification of war. The seemingly innocent figures of those American icons would suggest a more sinister reality of huge corporations in the reckless pursuit of profit, immune from the consequences on the most vulnerable. This work is also known as “Can’t be the feeling”, a clear allusion to the well-known tag-line used by Coca Cola.