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Page last updated at 11:55 GMT, Friday, 12 June 2009 12:55 UK
Banksy v Bristol Museum

By Rebecca Cafe
BBC Bristol

Banksy's studio
The show has a recreation of Banksy's studio

As a self-confessed Banksy fanatic, I have been waiting for him to return to Bristol for years.

Previous shows have been held as far afield as New York and Los Angeles - something my, and many other fans' budgets could not stretch to.

But it is definitely worth the wait.

It is a fitting tribute to his home city - this is far and away his biggest and best show. There are about 100 works on display; of which 78 are brand new.

Highlights of the new pieces include an animatronic police man on a rocking horse and a gigantic painting of the House of Commons where the MPs have been replaced by chimps.

Damien Hirst

Banksy being Banksy, controversy is never far away. There's a painting of a woman dressed in a hijab wearing a revealing apron and a Ku Klux Klan member hanging himself from a tree.

Upstairs room at museum
Paintings are mixed in with the classics which are permanently on display

Some of the work on show has been re-versioned for the exhibition. Boghenge from Glastonbury Festival is now placed in front of a mural of Stonehenge while the animatronic chimp from his New York Pet Shop show is now shown to be painting an idyllic scene rather than watching TV.

And it's not just Banksy's own work which he's updated. A Damien Hirst spot painting now features a classic Banksy rat, while The Flight to Egypt by Claude Derain now contains an advert for Easyjet.

Although the show is not a retrospective, it features all aspects of his multitude of styles.

Of course there's the stencil-based work which is what he's the master of, but there are installations (similar to what was on display at last year's Cans Festival) and paintings which hark back to the crude oils work of a few years ago.

Job centre

Banksy put on this show as a thank you to Bristol for supporting his early street art career which meant "putting up with a lot of mistakes that were made in public".

Mistakes which Bristol City Council were, in the early days, eager to paint over and cover up.

Irony has always played a part in Banksy's work, so the fact that the show is held in a council-run museum (without the council's big chiefs knowing) is both the ultimate tribute and last word.

Running until the end of August, it has created 14 extra full-time jobs; some of which were advertised at the local job centre (the employees can't believe their luck).

Although Banksy is known for his mystery, it is some feat to have pulled of a show of this size with only three people from the museum and none from the council in the know.

I just can't wait to see what he does next.

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