Stenciled in December 2008, the first flake-off paint stencil of a mischievous monkey on the wall of Primark has caused quite a sensation. This landmark painting was created to mark the opening of Banksy’s new exhibition at The Old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane. Since it appeared on 4th January 2009, thousands of people have flocked to see the marvelous piece.

The slogan emblazoned across this art work is “you complete me”, a reference to the film Jerry Maguire in which Tom Cruise’s character repeatedly says these words to his love interest played by Renée Zellweger. Even though the painting is called ‘Monkey Queen’ it was actually painted on a wall of The Old Truman Brewery building and not in front of Primark itself, which is located across the road.

In this work Banksy has created a whimsical story about interaction between humans and animals. A mural of a monkey wearing giant glasses sits on the wall with arms outstretched. It is clear that the monkey has removed her own glasses and is holding them in her hands. The message, therefore, is that the female monkey cannot see properly anymore because she is now without her glasses. The human counterpart to this story could be interpreted as a man who has lost his woman. Banksy’s message is that the glasses were so important to him that he didn’t notice her leaving and only realized it when she took off her glasses. The monkey represents the loss of a loved one or something important because once you take something away from someone, they are never quite the same again. This is what Banksy has cleverly portrayed in his painting.

The glass frames are lying on the floor. The monkey may have purposely dropped them to emphasize that she cannot see without her glasses, as well as create curiosity in those who view another of Banksy’s works. The story could continue with the man finding a pair of glasses in his wife’s room and putting them on the wall. The monkey might find a pair that fits her, and she will realize that the man had put a pair of glasses there for her to find!

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