Anti-establishment street artist Banksy has shielded his identity from the public for years causing an unanswerable debate over who he really is.
Although people have varying theories about who exactly is the man underneath the hood, he has ensured that he remains anonymous creating an air of mystery that only makes his works more intriguing.
However, now it looks like the game is up as his identity has been revealed by a simple mistake.
DJ and actor Goldie, who rose to fame as a street artist, appeared on Scroobius Pip’s weekly podcast Distraction Pieces.
Deciding to go on a rant about art and the way it is monetised, Goldie attacked Banksy for mass producing his artwork and selling it for profit across the world.
Because you know, how else are artists meant to make money and afford a roof over their heads?
On the podcast he said:
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.
No disrespect to Robert, I think he is a brilliant artist. I think he has flipped the world of art over.
Pausing for a moment realising his awful mistake, Goldie quickly changed subject but by then it was too late.
So now we are all left wondering who is Robert?
Well it turns out that by Goldie mentioning one single name he has confirmed speculation that has been rife for years – that Banksy is Robert Del Naja.
The British artist and musician is best known for being the founding member of Massive Attack, known by the stage name 3D.
Del Naja has known Goldie for years after they both worked in the same circles as graffiti artists in the 1980s across the UK.
Banksy murals have also appeared in locations where Massive Attack have played which in hindsight doesn’t seem to be so much of a coincidence.
Even the man of mystery himself stated that Del Naja’s music is a source of inspiration for his artwork which is either quite the self-congratulatory pat on the back or a tongue-in-cheek catch me if you can.
With rumours circulating for years, one researcher carried out a five-month long investigation which concluded that Banksy is a team of street artists as opposed to just one person with Del Naja as the head of the organisation.
However he has always denied the claims telling The Daily Mail:
Rumours of my secret identity are greatly exaggerated.
It would be a good story but sadly not true. Wishful thinking I think.
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.
That would of course explain why Banksy murals keep popping up where Massive Attack have played, but maybe Del Naja is just saying this to keep the air of mystery.
But why would Goldie have said the name Robert then? Maybe he knew about the rumours and wanted to tease us further purposefully dropping the name into the conversation?
Or maybe he did it for attention? It could also have genuinely been a slip of the tongue revealing the secret to the world.
I am pretty sure since this is Banksy we are talking about, we will never know the truth.
Emily Murray is a journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Leeds with a BA in English Literature and History before studying for a Masters in Journalism at the University of Salford. Emily has previously worked for the BBC, ITV and Trinity Mirror. When Emily isn’t writing about topics including mental health and entertainment, you can find her at the cinema which is her second home.