The Restoration of Luna Luna, Banksy's Stamp for Ukraine

In 1987 the Luna Luna amusement park opened in Hamburg, Germany. The park was created by Austrian artist, Andre Heller. His vision was to get the most creative artists of the day to design ‘the first ever art amusement park.’

 

 

 

Much serendipity was involved in the park’s creation. Heller called Andy Warhol, who got him in touch with Jean-Michel Basquiat. Then Keith Haring got involved, which led to the inclusion of Kenny Scharf. Roy Lichtenstein was invited to take part and he gave Heller David Hockney’s number. Salvador Dali fabricated a mirrored Fun House.

 

The park welcomed more than 240,000 guests during its thirteen-week run. They rode Basquiat’s ferris wheel and Haring’s carousel, climbed through Hockney’s Enchanted Tree House, swung on Scharf’s chair ride, experienced Dali’s psychedelic dome and Lichtenstein’s fun house.

 

Heller hoped that Luna Luna would travel around the world, but legal disputes ensued, the fair was dismantled and has been in storage for more than thirty years. Heller, who is now 75, had sold the project to a philanthropic group and never expected to see the artworks again.

 

In 2019, serendipity once again played a part in the parks pending revival. Emails were sent, calls were made and rapper Drake’s Dream Crew got involved in resurrecting the park.

 

The works were moved from a Texas warehouse to a Los Angeles warehouse, where they are being restored. Luna Luna is expected to begin a world tour later this year.


 

Last fall, Banksy made a secret visit to Ukraine. He painted seven murals on the walls bombed-out buildings. Each mural depicts the strength and perseverance of the Ukrainian people during the war. 

 

The Ukrainian National Postal Service issued a stamp that features one of Banksy’s images, which was done on a building bombed by Russian troops, in the town of Borodyanka, near the capital Kyiv. It shows a boy in a judo suit slamming a grown man, also in a judo suit, to the ground. The grown man represents Viadimir Putin, who boasts that he has a black belt in judo. On a corner of the stamp, in Cyrillic, are letters that read “FCK PTN'. Lines formed at Kyiv’s main post office when they were released on March 3rd.

 

"We believe that the Ukrainian postage stamp "FCK PTN!" will also become prophetic. And in 2023, Ukraine, which is smaller in terms of territory but hundreds of times more motivated, will finally “pin russia to the mat”, said Igor Smelyanskyi, Director General of Ukraine's National Postal Service.

 

Revenue from the sale of the stamps will be directed to humanitarian needs, in particular to educational institutions that suffered from Russian aggression.

 


 

References:

Natasha Gural. ‘Luna Luna’ Art Amusement Park Revives Rides By Basquiat, Haring, Scharf, Hockney, Dalí, Other Masters, And Via Phaidon Tome. Forbes. February 7, 2023.

Joe Coscarelli. How Drake’s $100 Million Bet Saved the Long-Lost Art Carnival Luna Luna Luna. The New York Times. November 17, 2022.

The New York Times. Luna Park First Night: Coney Island Visitors Dazzled by Electric City. May 17, 1903.

Colby Mugrabi. Luna Luna. Minniemuse. October 30, 2018.

Teresa Nowakowski. Ukraine Releases Banksy Postage Stamp on War’s One-Year Anniversary. Smithsonian Magazine. March 1, 2023.

Jacquelyne Germain. Banksy Reveals Seven Murals Throughout War-Torn Ukraine. Smithsonian Magazine. November 16, 2022.

BBC News. Ukraine's Banksy stamps feature art of Putin in judo match. February 26, 2023.

UKRPOSHTA (Ukraine’s National Post. Postage stamp "FCK PTN!" to the anniversary of Russia's full-scale war against Ukraine was put into circulation. February 24, 2023.

March 8, 2023
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