Banksy’s “Gorilla in a Pink Mask” a Bristol landmark on the wall of the former North Bristol Social Club.
A valuable Banksy worth £250,000 has been whitewashed over by the new owners of a building in Bristol. Saeed Ahmed thought was just another piece of graffiti and ordered it to be painted over. “I thought it was worthless,” he stated He added: “I didn’t know it was valuable and that’s why I painted over it. I really am sorry if people are upset.”.The mural is one of Banksy’s earliest works it is illustrated in a number of books on the international artist. and the Owner when questioned about the distruction of the art had never heard of Banksy. The piece known as gorilla in a pink mask was painted on the wall of the former North Bristol Social Club, in Eastville section of Bristol and had been an iconic landmark in the area for more than 10 years. The building has recently been turned into an Islamic cultural centre. Ahmed said he was willing to explore options to see if the whitewash can be removed and the painting restored. In May another Banksy was lost when an artwork painted on the side of a hotel was destroyed by vandals. Staff at the Grosvenor Hotel in Torquay, Devon were outraged to discover the image of a young boy drawing a robot valued at £150,000 – had been damaged. The vandals broke through protective perspex glass protecting the painting – which appeared last October – and doused the wall with paint stripper, obliterating’ the small boy.
A new organization on Facebook has appeared in the last few months to monotor and protect valuable street art.
Here is the link: SOSA Save Our Street Art
SOSA is the start of a lobbying group which plans to list and put pressure on Local Councils to be responsible for the protection of these works. It is time to start treating them as they would any piece of public art under their control. Camden Council removed one of Banksy’s best known works (French Maid ) stating that it encouraged anti social behavior.These works are in desperate need of preservation some are flaking and must be put under protective care. A worldwide preservation society needs to be actioned immediately, if we are to protect these important 21st century frescoes.
Recently Google launched “Google Street Art View”. The Street Map site can be utilized to showcase works of graffiti art from around the globe. This project has been realized through a collaboration between the Brazilian ad agency Loducca and Red Bull. It has created an innovative source for discovering new works, the project is user driven. Artwork is searchable by location or author, and while locations are restricted to those places where Google’s cameras have recorded the area, Street Art View’s goal was to be “the biggest art collection in the world”. After just a few days live, the platform had over 200 walls tagged in various countries, including big names such as Keith Haring, Os Gêmeos and Banksy. The drawback is that the photos were already a few years old and many of the works were gone. Another downside was that It pinpointed the works to thieves and over zealous councils who have than removed the works.
This type of technology is proof that we have the know-how and viewing platform but now need to protect our heritage. These 21st century cultural icons are valid works of contemporary art and need strict guidelines and preservation orders. They are not taken seriously by local councils and private owners who don’t differentiate the works from the thousands of Tags and sub grade quality Graffiti Art that appears and disappears every day in most cities across the world.
Many of the earlier works can be viewed on Google Street Art View