ARTIST Banksy has slammed the criticism he received from the Home Secretary against his small boats-crossing artwork at Glastonbury.

An inflatable boat filled with migrant dummies in orange life jackets was hoisted into the crowd gathered to watch the band Idles play on the Other Stage at Worthy Farm on Friday night (June 28).

Home Secretary James Cleverly later accused the artwork of “trivialising” small boats crossings of migrants in the Channel and described it as “vile”.

In response, the Bristolian street artist branded Mr Cleverly’s reaction “a bit over the top” and said it was the real boat he funded, which was being detained by Italian authorities after it had rescued unaccompanied children at sea, that he deemed “vile and unacceptable”.

On Sunday, Mr Cleverly reshared a video of the inflatable boat crowdsurfing the crowd to X, formerly Twitter, and wrote: “Small boats crossings are deadly and have cost the lives of too many people.

“Festivalgoers cosplaying as migrants, and celebrating the actions of people smugglers, while they party is awful. Whatever your political views, this isn’t something we should trivialise.”

He later told Sky News: “People die in the Mediterranean, they die in the Channel. This is not funny. It is vile. It is a celebration of the loss of life in the Channel.”

The new Terminal 1 at Glastonbury 2024 celebrated migration.The new Terminal 1 at Glastonbury 2024 celebrated migration. (Image: Newsquest)

In an Instagram post on Wednesday, Banksy shared a photo of the real sea rescue boat MV Louise Michel, which he has funded, alongside a link to the official Instagram page of the boat.

He wrote: “The Home Secretary called my Glastonbury boat ‘vile and unacceptable’ which seemed a bit over the top.

“The real boat I fund, the MV Louise Michel, rescued 17 unaccompanied children from the central Med on Monday night.

“As punishment, the Italian authorities have detained it – which seems vile and unacceptable to me.”

The boat artwork originally appeared while the Bristol rock band were performing Danny Nedelko, a 2018 release which begins with the lyrics: “My blood brother is an immigrant, a beautiful immigrant.”

According to The Guardian, the band said the demonstration was devised by Banksy and they were not aware it had happened until after the set had finished.

It returned the following evening for Little Simz’s performance on the Pyramid Stage.