Before Banksy, that “Elephant” tank was a man’s home

It seems that there is more to say about Banksy‘s recent piece, This Looks A Bit Like An Elephant, which was removed and is now for sale. Until as recently as September of 2010, a man had been living inside the water tank that Banksy painted. Tachowa Covington aka Rollerball has lived inside the tank for about seven years. In fact, it’s probably a good guess, although I can’t say for sure, that Tachowa was still living in the tank when Banksy painted it, given that he shows up in the video that (the folks trying to sell the tank) have posted on their homepage and says that he saw Banksy paint the tank.

There have been a couple of short films made about Tachowa:

Melrose and Fairfax wonder if maybe Banksy was unaware of Tachowa’s story or that maybe he was aware of Tachowa but was doing a favor for a friend who wanted the tank removed (local residents had been trying to get the tank removed because it disrupts their view of the landscape, and if it weren’t a home, I’d probably agree with them). They also point out that whatever Banksy’s intent, the consequences seem to have left Tachowa homeless.

I’m not so sure about that (edit) that Banksy was unaware of Tachowa though. Given that Banksy has dealt with the issue of homelessness before (including tangentially during the same trip to LA when This Looks A Bit Like An Elephant was painted), it seems possible that this piece was about homelessness (the elephant in the room) and that Banksy was aware that the tank was Tachowa’s home. If that’s true, the meaning of the piece becomes mutli-layered and more than a quick joke about the shape of the tank.

Either way, the questions are now: Where is Tachowa now, how is Tachowa doing, will Banksy help him out and has Banksy done so already?

Photo from Banksy’s website