The real identity of the world-famous anonymous artist Banksy has for many years been the subject of speculation. However, one theory that the graffiti genius is actually Massive Attack leader Robert Del Naja has gotten new credence after fellow musician Goldie appeared to let slip his name.
The drum & bass DJ was speaking on Scroobius Pip’s weekly Distraction Pieces podcast, and was talking about how the art world had co-opted graffiti for gain while the art form itself was still saddled with negative perceptions.
“Give me a bubble letter and put it on a T-shirt and write Banksy on it and we're sorted. We can sell it now,” Goldie ranted. “No disrespect to Robert, I think he is a brilliant artist. I think he has flipped the world of art over.”
Is Robert Del Naja of Massive Attack really Banksy?
The key here was him accidentally dropping the word ‘Robert’, which according to various reports suggests that Banksy might really be Robert Del Naja, one of the founding members of trip-hop legends Massive Attack.
There was then an awkward silence on the podcast once Goldie had dropped the name, before he quickly attempted to move on to a different topic of conversation.
Del Naja, before he formed Massive Attack, was known to have been a graffiti artist in the 1980s and was a friend of Goldie’s, as they moved in the same circles.
The slip appears to give new credibility to a report filed last September by journalist Craig Williams, who after a five-month investigation suggested that Banksy was not an individual but a collective of graffiti artists, with Del Naja as the ringleader. He cited a trend of Banksy murals happening to turn up in cities or places that Massive Attack had toured. Furthermore, ‘Banksy’ provided the foreword to Del Naja’s book, ‘3D and the Art of Massive Attack’, which came out last year.
After Williams’ report, Del Naja issued a denial, saying that it was “a good story but sadly not true… He is a mate as well. He's been to some of the gigs. It's purely a matter of logistics and coincidence, nothing more than that.”