UK council ‘unamused’ as Banksy unveils Valentine’s Day mural

British street artist Banksy used an unprecedented statement about violence against women – but the country’s politicians saw it as nonsense rather than evil.

A Banksy painting has emerged in Margate, southeast England, showing a 1950s-style housewife with puffy eyes and a missing tooth forcing her partner into a real-life freezer. Stay up to date by following FMT’s Telegram channel “We will definitely look at how we can protect this and preserve it because we’re really proud to have it here,” Margate Mayor Heather Keen told AFP.

But minutes later, city workers showed up to dump the freezer into a van, despite protests from locals taking photos of the mural, at the end of a terrace of houses in a run-down part of the seaside town. Thanet District Council, which manages Margate, said the freezer was removed ‘for safety reasons as it is on public land’.

“The fridge-freezer is currently in storage and will be returned as soon as it is made safe for the public,” the council said in a statement, adding that it would discuss the art’s preservation with the owner. . The mysterious Banksy, who still hasn’t really confirmed his identity, posted three images of the painting – which he called “Valentine’s Day Mascara” – on his Instagram account.

Two of the close-up images show the woman, wearing a blue dress and yellow-washed hands, smiling but with a clearly broken face. The removal of the freezer caused confusion – and even conspiracy theories – among passers-by.

“People are like, ‘Stop, stop, you know, it’s Banksy, isn’t it?'” Laura Holden, 35, told AFP. “They (the workers) said, ‘Oh, no, we have the right to remove it all,'” he said.

“I feel like it’s part of the game, and maybe Banksy wanted it from the start, because we all know it’s hard to get Thanet District Council to come and collect our rubbish.”

From Bristol to Borodianka

Others praised the outstanding subject matter of the now-transformed work. “I think it’s amazing,” Amanda Barden, 56, said.

“It’s a topic that people can talk about, domestic violence. I think the reference to Valentine’s Day also attracts people, it will open up this conversation.

Banksy, who is known to be from Bristol in southwest England, has been busy creating and selling a number of limited edition silkscreen prints to raise money to support civilians affected by the war in Ukraine.

The 50 prints, which show a mouse landing next to a box with “FRAGILE” printed on it, were sold in December for £5,000 (US$6,100) each, through the Legacy of War charity. Their online campaign attracted thousands of “attack” web attacks from Russian Internet addresses, the charity said at the time.

The artist also revealed last month that he was behind the seven paintings that appeared in buildings that were vandalized in Kyiv last year. Belying its origins on the streets of Bristol in the 1990s, Banksy’s art now commands huge sums.

A version of his iconic ‘Girl with Balloon’ sold at auction for over £1 million in 2018 – only to start self-destructing thanks to Banksy’s chipper lurking in the centre. The title ‘Love in the Bin’ went on sale for a staggering £18.6m in 2021 – a record for Banksy.

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