A Banksy mural removed from a pub wall in Bristol has fetched £26,000, at an auction held in the House Of Commons. Smile Britannia, a charity art auction also included the work of Shepard Fairey, Nick Walker, David Walker, Inkie, Ryan Callanan aka RYCA and Mau Mau.
The Banksy lot is one of his earliest surviving pieces. 50% of the funds raised will be donated to charity and the other half will go to its owner JJ Gorman, the managing director of the Full Moon and Attic Bar. In 2006 Gorman had the work professionally removed from the building after several theft attempts. Among the charity beneficiaries of the sale will be Stokes Croft-based charity Temwa, which works to support the people of northern Malawi.
Gorman told the Bristol Post that removing the artwork from his building was a difficult decision. He said: “I was a bit iffy about removing it but people had already tried chipping away at it and I was worried it was going to be ruined. “Banksy had done it where an old window used to be and I wanted to replace the window. I paid a stonemason £1,500 to remove it – he used chainsaws and grinders to remove the brick work.” He added, “I make no secret of the fact I want to use half to help pay for more renovation of the Full Moon. The artwork features in the book Home Sweet Home, a celebration of Banksy’s street art in Bristol, as one of his earliest pieces.
London Westbank Gallery’s Smile Britannia, was a charity art auction at the House of Commons on Friday 13 December 2013. The charity art project launched by the Notting Hill based gallery is in collaboration with the Last Night A DJ Saved My Life Foundation and Temwa. A collection of contemporary artists including Nick Walker, David Walker, Inkie, Ryan Callanan aka RYCA and Mau Mau have created and donated unique artworks encompassing the theme of Smile Britannia.
The idea for the auction originated from the Last Night A DJ Saved My Life Foundation’s charitable initiative House the House created by London Westbank Gallery and hosted by MP Mike Weatherley in March this year. Winners of this national DJ competition received over £25,000 in music production courses and musical equipment, with the overall winner playing a historic set in the House of Commons with support from Fatboy Slim. Mike Weatherley MP represents Hove and Portslade and is the Prime Minister’s advisor on Intellectual Property. He has a background of working in the music and film industries before being elected in 2010. To raise awareness about the importance of the music, film and creative industries to the UK economy, and the role IP has in ensuring we remain a creative nation, he started three competitions with the ‘Rock The House’ one now being the largest competition in Parliament.
After the sale, Mr Gorman said: “I was really chuffed. It went for a lot more than I expected. “It was a bit sad to see it go but I am delighted it will be helping worthwhile charities.”