The Banksy mural ‘Slave Labour’ allegedly sold last night at a private event in London for more than 750,000 pounds ($1.1 million). It was reported in Bloomberg that buyers had made offers for the painting of more than 900,000 pounds in a 3½-hour silent auction that closed at 9:30 p.m. Guests sipped Taittinger champagne and listened to house music as they viewed the badly-framed mural flanked by a pair of thug-like security guards. It was reported that Sincura had received three bids of more than 750,000 pounds. London art dealer Robin Barton, who represented the hacked off the wall street art’s owners, said in an email. “The successful buyer and final price will be announced later this morning”.
The controversial Banksy mural ‘Slave labour’ appeared during the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, on the side of a Poundland shop in Wood Green was a popular tourist attraction and popular with the local community.
The mural, whose ownership has remained anonymous, depicts a child labourer hunched over a sewing machine stitching a string of Union Jack bunting. Banksy bloggers describe it as a statement on the use of sweat-shop child labour in cheap products sold on the UK’s high-streets. The painting was hacked off the wall in mysterious circumstances, before appearing in a Miami auction. It was expected to realise up to £450,000 however due to the outcry of protests mostly from the UK, the auction was cancelled. It is now going under the hammer organised by the Sincura Group, prompting condemnation from north London campaigners and officials from Haringey council. The Sincura group said the mural had been “sensitively restored” and if the piece did not reach the reserve price it would then be sold to a collector in the US.
One MP has asked for the owners to return the mural to Wood Green. MP Lynne Featherstone has urged the owners of the mural to give it back to the residents of north London.”So now I make this direct plea to the owners of the Banksy piece: You have this one last chance to do the right thing.”You have deprived a community of an asset that was given to us for free and greatly enhanced an area that needed it.,She added.
Tony Baxter, director of the Sincura Group, said he could not divulge who the owner of the piece was but that it was being sold legally. The Metropolitan Police said there were “no reports of any theft”.
Activists from both Haringey and supporters of street art organised a peaceful protest outside the auction which took place yesterday evening.
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