An art exhibition in a local library has aroused controversy as visitors respond to its ‘satanic’ statue centrepiece.

Currently on display at the library in Water Street, Pembroke Dock, the September 2023 exhibition includes paintings, prints and sculptures by artist William Billy Gannon.

It’s an exhibition that well-known local radio presenter BB Skone has described as “brilliant, witty and imaginative, with thought provoking messages.”

Private sign by William Billy Gannon
Private sign by William Gannon (Pic BB Skone)

Once again the mystery surrounding the identity of Banksy emerges as visitors discuss the art on display, but what has really upset some of them is a giant sculpture resembling a goat-headed pagan deity that is associated with satanism.

William Billy Gannon Climate Change statue
Climate Change statue by William Gannon (Observer pic)

In a letter to the editor, K Holt said:

I am writing to tell you how disgusted I am as a former resident born and bred that Pembroke Dock Library is showing off a huge statue of Satan slap bang in the middle of the library itself.

The statue has been made by Billy Gannon whose real name is Billy Gunning who is that vandal Banksy. He says he isn’t but he is and he has just put up a load of his Banksy rubbish on the walls of our library to prove it along with a huge statue of THE DEVIL. This is a CHRISTIAN country.  How is he getting away with this? And why is the Council letting him? A lot of us are angry and if the council doesn’t do something then we will.

“Oh dear, no,” was William Gannon’s response when talking to the Observer. “The statue is sculpted from rubbish found locally and represents climate change. There is an explanation right next to the statue. Anyway, how does anyone know what the devil looks like?”

The sculpture is not based on the devil but on Baphomet, a deity allegedly worshipped by the Knights Templar, but these allegations came from their persecutors, so to describe the idol’s origins as Christian would be going too far. It was French priest-turned-magician Éliphas Lévi who created in the 19th century the best-known representation of the creature by now well associated with the occult: a winged, humanoid goat with a pair of breasts and a torch on its head between its horns.

“These satanic statues are going up everywhere nowadays,” another respondent to the exhibition has remarked on the Facebook-based Pembroke Dock and Pembroke Residents’ Forum.

The artist’s response: “She is a modern Baphomet in the form of Climate Change; an old god born new from waste and pollution, bringing catastrophe with her.”

William Gannon Climate Change Interpretive board
(Observer pic)

The explanatory key describes Climate Change: 

She is made from rubbish picked up from the beaches and playgrounds and the rivers and the roads of West Wales. On her head Climate Change carries one single pearl of wisdom which is the truth that climate change will bring disaster to everyone around the world. No-one will be spared. The snake that sits below the pearl bites itself to heal itself, just as Climate Change will unleash her children, Fire, and Flood and Drought and Death, to purge the earth of us and our pollution to restore balance to the natural world… with one hand Climate Change points upwards and with the other she points down. Both high and low will suffer equally… Her mother Gaia gifted Climate Change with her horns and animal form and sustains her through the roots that rise from the earth below to cover and nourish her.

William Gannon continues: “Whilst satanists have adopted Baphomet as one incarnation of Satan, Baphomet is a different god. The statue in the library is based on Baphomet but is of Climate Change, not Satan.“

Underlining his own position regarding spiritual doctrines and ecology, Mr Gannon adds: “Climate Change is different from Satan because Climate Change is real and Satan is not.”

With the devil put firmly in place, it still leaves the burning question, voiced by another member of the residents’ forum: “Is he Banksy?”

Banksy is an internationally famous street artist known for irreverent and politically charged wit. His true identity has never been revealed, although he is understood to be Bristol-born and England-based.

“No. Banksy does not have horns and is not covered in roots. Or wings.” - surely the artist feigns the misunderstanding?

“I meant you!” probes the inquisitor. “Same answer,” Billy replies, showing some more of that wit.

These provocative answers may leave you wondering. But it’s not the first time Mr Gannon has been alleged to be the world-famous satirical street artist. In May of last year, he was forced to resign from his role as a Pembroke Dock town councillor, representing Bufferland ward. He said that the allegation, which was false, was undermining his work as a councillor and the reputation of Pembroke Dock Town Council.

He even made an ‘I’m not Banksy’ badge to avoid any confusion. On his website, he adds: “When I tell people that I am NOT Banksy they say ‘That is just what Banksy would say’. So now I just don’t talk about it any more.”

Of his art he says: “I work in stone dug out of the ground, leftover cement and scrap paper. I use plastic picked up from the streets and playgrounds and beaches and riverbanks, leftover wood and metal and glass and odds and ends of crayon and spray paint and just about any other material I can get my hands on.

“And I use it to tell the stories of people like us. People who have to use whatever they can find to tell their stories because they haven’t got anything else.”

William Billy Gannon’s art exhibition is on view until the end of September, so there is an opportunity to take a look and make up your own mind.

Pembroke Dock Library is open from 10am every day except Tuesday and Sunday. It closes at 5pm except on Wednesday (6.30pm) and Saturday (12.30pm).

Visit to find out more about William Billy Gannon.