Sunday, 24 February 2013

about a bunting boy

Banksy's 'Slave Labour' close-up view
I couldn't believe my eyes when I read that a mural
by elusive guerrilla artist Banksy, actually the world's
most famous graffiti artist, has been chiseled out of
the wall to be sold for auction in Miami despite pleas
from people back in Wood Green, north London, where
it appeared last May, right before the Queen's Diamond
Jubilee celebrations, outside a Poundland shop.

The original 'Slave Labour' mural in Turnpike Lane
Called 'Slave Labour', the artwork depicts a barefoot
young sweatshop worker hunced over an old sewing
machine making Union Jack bunting (smartly hinting
at the opulent Jubilee's commemorations) and it was
gouged out last weekend to be sold to the highest bidder
by Fine Arts Auctions Miami together with 'Wet Dog',
another mural by Banksy.

Before the removal, photo © by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images
FAAM's director Frederic Thut who had been due to
sell both artworks, declared that he has ”done all the
necessary due diligence about the ownership of the
work” but the Haringey Council soon started backing
a campaign to bring the mural back to where it belongs.
Anyway, yesterday FAAM convinced its consignors
to withdraw both Banksy murals, lots six and seven,
from the auction and take back power of authority of
these works. Slave Labour alone was estimated to
fetch from $ 500,000 to $700,000!

Wood Green residents' protest,  photo © Justin Tallis/Afp
The whole dispute has been postponed yet I wonder
how such a work of art could be removed to be sold
by an auction house on the other side of the world
when it was given for free to the Haringey community
soon becoming a source of public pride? Don't get
me wrong, probably there's nothing illegal in it, yet
I find it morally wrong. Besides, is a decontextualized
Banksy still a true Banksy? The whole meaning of
street art fails to exist this way. Let's bring back Banksy
for the sake of keeping street art where it belongs!

The former site of the Banksy these days, via Liquida.it

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