Without doubt one of Banksy’s most iconic pieces, “Soldiers Painting Peace” is a stirring piece of visual sloganeering, and a stunning example of political iconoclasm. It is a stark juxtaposition of two divergent forces in contemporary culture — the drive for peace and the rush to war. Clad in their armaments and heavy weaponry, a pair of soldiers takes a break from their usual activities to paint the CND logo — originally the icon of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmaments but now the international symbol of the campaign for peace over war. It is a savage indictment of the indoctrination of young men and women into serving the nefarious ambitions of the state, when most of them would most likely be campaigning for peace in different conditions. In purely aesthetic terms it is also a fine example of Banksy’s unique iconographic style: his brooding shadows and silhouettes offsetting a blast of blood-red, and the use of dripping paint to conjure the idea of a job done on the fly. Having become a popular official print, sold in a run of 500 and subsequently sold at auctions across the world, the original first appeared in 2006 in the protest camp surrounding London’s Houses of Parliament. Since before the American attack on Iraq and Afghanistan the small traffic island had been home to one Brian Haw, whose ‘peace camp’ served to remind members of parliament and the countless flood of tourists of the injustices being committed in their name. For once Banksy’s image became merely one of a number of protest designs; lost among a sea of slogans and pleas for pace, “Soldiers Painting Peace” was a truly democratic image.