Vandals have attacked the ‘Banksy’ artwork that appeared last week in Cheltenham in Gloucester. The mural which depicts three men hacking into a call box not far from the GCHQ (Britain’s national snooping centre) was daubed with white paint over the faces of the three spies. The graffiti was only saved by quick thinking drinkers from a nearby pub who washed the white acrylic based paint off before it had dried.
The mural appeared in Hewlett Road last Sunday and has created an internet sensation, with questions raised whether or not it was created by the Bristol born artist. The work has not appeared on the Banksy website which usually authenticates a new site specific work.
Cheltenham Pubs tweeted: “Local publican, passers by and residents rush to save vandalised Banksy.” Liam McKinnon asked: “Why can’t we just enjoy something?” (His Twitter photo appears above).
Another artwork confirmed to be by Banksy which appeared shortly after the Cheltenham mural has been removed to protect it from Vandalism. The work painted on a plywood panel was unscrewed from its location in a boarded up doorway next to a sports centre. The artwork has now on been put on show at the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery. The work, in Clement Street in Bristol, shows a couple in a passionate embrace while checking their mobile phones. It appeared on Banksy’s website on 14 April. Ray Barnett, a manager for the museum, said, “the ownership of the painting was still being debated”. He added: “I’m not sure what will happen in the future about this. “It’s interesting that it appeared where it did and that people are speculating on whether Banksy had an ulterior motive – that’s not for me to say.”
The artwork was later photographed with Bristol Mayor George Ferguson who said. “I’m delighted that Dennis, who is a good man, has made a tough judgment call and has turned over the artwork to us, via the police. “No one’s the bad guy here, we simply need to buy time to establish where ownership lies, what Banksy’s intentions might be, if we were to get some signals, and how best we can move forward.” Bristol City Council has laid claim to “Mobile Lovers” saying they own the wall that it was painted on.
Top Photo: Liam McKinnon Via Twitter