Stencil Art

Banksy’s Sale Ends

Sale Ends is imbued with the artist’s characteristic satirical wit. It shows a group of four cloaked women starkly outlined in Banksy’s signature black-and-white stencilled style on a white background. Prostrated in front of the sign, the women are reminiscent of the lamenting figures typically seen at the base of the crucifixion in Renaissance paintings.

The bold red sign bears the words ‘SALE ENDS TODAY’ in large white capitals, and is the only coloured element of the composition, evoking typical shop signs designed to catch people’s attention and make them buy products they don’t necessarily need, in an obvious critique of our materialistic society.

Why is Sale Ends important?

With its careful balance of satire and tradition, this work shows Banksy at the height of his powers. Here the artist is pointing at the near-religious fervour with which contemporary society regards consumerism, particularly around such events like Black Friday and Amazon Prime Day. The women in Sale Ends seem to be both mourning the last day of the sale and worshipping capitalism, making this an important piece of criticism as well as a striking work of art.

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