GIRL WITH BALLOON
I’d like to think like Banksy;
his distinctive street graffiti so easily translated
into social commentary; his ubiquitous reputation;
his freedom in anonymity.
I took an origami workshop to learn
how to make his Girl with Balloon
out of two squares of paper.
The dichotomy was appealing:
replicating a contemporary image in an ancient art form.
The folding was complex, but the girl took shape—
her hair tousled, her dress blowing in the wind,
the red, heart-shaped balloon
floating away from her,
snatched by the wind from her tiny hand.
I tore her right foot a little bit,
but I’m happy with her posture,
her featureless face tracking the balloon
upward as she reaches out.
I try to imagine what Banksy was thinking when he created her,
and it occurs to me to wonder:
Is art in the thinking or the making?
Is it the idea or the object?
If I’m truly thinking like Banksy,
I know what must happen next:
His painting was shredded
the moment it sold at Sotheby’s,
so it follows that I must destroy this small paper girl.
But I don’t. I can’t.
She may be Banksy’s idea, but I made her,
folded her outstretched arm, tore her little foot.
She’s mine now.
And in my story, she doesn’t end up shredded or in the bin.
She lives to send her balloon, her heart, sailing skyward.
Gayle Moran currently lives in Houston where she teaches communication skills to engineering students at Rice University.