A Banksy mural titled, ‘Slave Labour’ that was hacked off a wall outside a Poundland shop in Haringey that turned up in a Miami auction and withdrawn, after a public outcry, is to be offered for sale in a London auction.
The mural depicts a child labourer hunched over a sewing machine stitching a string of Union Jack bunting.The work created in Whymark Avenue, Wood Green, North London appeared in May last year ahead of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Banksy bloggers describe it as a statement on the use of sweat-shop child labour.
The mural was expected to realise up to £450,000 in Miami, before the auction was cancelled. It is now going under the hammer in Covent Garden on 2 June by the Sincura Group, prompting condemnation from north London campaigners and officials from Haringey council.
Local Councillor Alan Strickland said there is “lots of anger” at the removal, and is campaigning for the work’s return. “Residents have been really shocked and really astonished,” he told the BBC. “Banksy gave that piece of art to our community, and people came from all over London to see it. He said residents are “disappointed” that a “piece of art that was given freely has been taken away from them and sold for an enormous profit”.
The auctioneers are the Sincura Group not auctioneers, as such, but a private concierge service. They have said, the mural had “been sensitively restored under a cloak of secrecy”, and would go on show alongside pieces by Damien Hirst, Andy Warhol and Mario Testino.
Banksy’s Slave Labour will go under the hammer on 2 June at the Film Museum in London’s Covent Garden.