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Banksy, the elusive British street artist famous for his simple stencil designs that convey powerful political messages, has long used rats as a means of social commentary. Drawing inspiration from French graffiti artist Blek le Rat, Banksy began his career stenciling rats across the streets of England with phrases like “Because I’m Worthless” and “Our Time Will Come.” Banksy’s rats can be interpreted as a symbol for the regenerative nature of street art—despite massive efforts by city governments to remove graffiti, a fresh wall won’t stay that way for long before new tags appear. The same can be said for rats, whose population is notoriously uncontrollable.

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