“Flower Thrower” – Banksy, 2003, Palestine

Ah, Banksy. A fantastic graffiti artist who often produces highly controversial but truthful graffiti pieces surrounding current societal issues and political problems. This piece being called “Flower Thrower”.

Through Banksy’s artwork, it is up to the audience to decode and decipher a meaning of what is being shown due to the lack of text. With the use of semiotics, we are able to differentiate between denotations and connotations of the image. If you don’t know what semiotics are, here’s a very basic definition for you: “the study of signs and symbols as elements of communicative behaviour.” 

Let’s breakdown this image, shall we? Starting off, let’s take a look at the denotations of the artwork. Denotations are the visible and very obvious signs in an image. A man standing in a militant position with a floral arrangement in his hand. He appears to be in a riot judging from his position. His mouth is being covered by a handkerchief and looks like he is protecting himself. The use of black and white on the man and the background highlights the colours of the flowers.

The connotation is the meaning of the denotations and the hidden messages within the image. The connotations in this image show a man in war throwing a bouquet of flowers instead of a Molotov cocktail.There is anger and frustration in the positioning of the man. The image can be seen as reminiscent of images from the 1960’s street riots. This substitute portrays peace and hope in a place of destruction and calls for an end to the atrocities committed in the name of war. The flowers are very symbolic in this image and are seen as carriers of peace and when they are scattered, will bring peace to the people who are affected by the war. The use of colour for the flowers themselves shows a hope for peaceful resolution of our conflicts.

The effect of this image on our society is simply shown through the flowers – to promote peace and resolve conflicts between each other. The remarkable idea behind this artwork is the use of unexpected weapons. The man is shown with a bouquet of flowers rather than a grenade or other harmful weapons. This suggests that perhaps we may be able to achieve more by negotiating kindly and peacefully rather than malevolently. I personally believe that the image is portraying peace in a place of destruction, particularly when discovering the origin of the street art being in Palestine, a place plagued with war and destruction. Banksy’s artwork often creates controversy, however, it brings forward the issues that are quite often swept under the radar and ignored.

This image can be analysed in many different ways due the the way individuals interpret different signs. This is due to each individuals personal context which allows different interpretations of the images and ultimately leads to altering the original message that the artist is trying to portray.

That’s all from me, folks. Leave any comments or thought about this image, I’d love to hear how you interpret this.



Flower Thrower, 2003. Available from: <http://www.complex.com/style/2013/11/banksy-greatest-works/flower-thrower&gt; [22 March 2015]

Australian Securities Exchange 2009, Market Information. Available from: <http://www.asx.com.au/professionals/market_information/index.htm&gt;. [5 July 2009].

LifeHack 2015, 15 Life Lessons From Banksy Street Art That Will Leave You Lost For Words. Available from: <http://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/15-life-lessons-from-banksy-street-art-that-will-leave-you-lost-for-words.html&gt; [22 March 2015].

Study.com 2015, What is Semiotics? Available from: <http://study.com/academy/lesson/what-is-semiotics-definition-examples.html&gt; [22 March 2015]