Designed by Banksy, worn by Stormzy: the banner of a divided and frightened nation

The artist chose Glastonbury’s Pyramid stage as the place to unveil his latest artwork – a stab-proof vest – and helped the rapper speak for England

It’s not what he does, it’s where he does it that makes Banksy modern Britain’s most effective artist. The pseudonymous street artist from the West Country picked the perfect platform yet again this weekend – the Pyramid stage at Glastonbury festival, no less, where Stormzy headlined in a stab-proof vest decorated with a near-monochrome union jack flag. It added a punch of visual tension to his verbal mash-up of modern Britain from knife crime to Boris Johnson. Only after the rousing show did a photo of Stormzy in his discomforting vest appear on Banksy’s instagram with a claim of responsibility: “I made a customised stab-proof vest and thought – who could possibly wear this?”, adding on a separate line: “Stormzy at Glastonbury”.

Stormzy, it turned out, had not been simply wearing a stage costume, but art.

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