Monday, 25 February 2013

The Return of the Wood Green "Banksy"

Wouldn't  it be  lovely  to return home  or  to wake up  one morning  , to  see that  your front wall has been adorned with a "Banksy " painting  like the ones below ?
What a pleasant surprise that would be for me.
 Very romantic , indeed !
Banksy  is the iconic  best  known  graffiti artist  not only in the  UK , but  world wide. 
 Many people would love  to wake up and find that  one of  their walls has been  adorned by a high-priced " Banksy ".
It  is the stuff  that dreams are made of ; and such  dreams  have come true  for  lots of  people  in London and other parts of the UK ; who have  been  blessed by a surprise visit from "Banksy" 
A large and popular  Banksy  art  on public or  private walls could be  worth  even  as much as the price of the building itself ; considering that such free Banksy graffiti  on their walls, if sold  could fetch the owners at least  £250,000.
Such fortunate  house owners  , usually would remove the wall with the Banksy  and sell it  to the  highest  bidder. 
As with all graffiti artists,  Banksy's  works are visible to all ; but Banksy 's real name and identity  have  remained a mystery  ; despite efforts by  many  to catch Banksy  in the act and to lift  the veil on his true ID.
He  is a recluse artist , nobody  has  had the  honour of seeing his face ; except  those who have caught a fleeting glimpse of  him ; they describe him as " a young , tall, slim- built , white male  in his mid or late  20s,  donning  a hoodie". 
Banksy  does his  stuff , wherever he is "led " to do it ;  he plasters  peoples' walls and he melts away.
 I think his ability  to remain anonymous  adds  to his pleasure of  doing what  Banksy  loves; and for this reason, Banksy's  art works  are  highly  sought after world-wide .
 But  some  aggrieved people do not find  Banksy's " unsolicited visitations" funny , at all . 
Like they view all graffiti  art , aggrieved persons see Banksy's  work  as "vandalism" which should not  be encouraged , at all .
They are  incensed that  Banksy  has  "defaced " their walls and have  vowed to sue him  for  wilful damage  to  property and for  causing a "public nuisance".
But how can you sue someone whom  nobody  can identify and why  would anyone want  to sue a person who has  been generous  enough  to spend his time , efforts , talents  and money , painting walls with  valuable  art work worth  at least six-figure pounds sterling  per piece?
One man's meat........
Thousands of people  appreciate Banksy's  beautiful unique  stencil art ,  leading  to  the high price tag  for his paintings which  nowadays   fetch at  least £250, 000 each. 
Through  his agents , Banksy  has had very  successful exhibitions  raking  in  sales worth millions of  pounds sterling.

Before the Queen's Jubilee  celebrations  last  year summer , residents of Wood Green in North London one fine day , were  pleasantly  surprised to find a large "Banksy" adorning  the side  wall of one of the many shops in that area. 
Wood Green Shopping City is one of  London's biggest and busiest  shopping  malls. It is located in Wood Green High Street , which is one of London's  prime commercial  centres. 
This area of London  never sleeps; it is bustling with activities all day , all night , even till dawn; in some of  its  24 hour shops , bars , restaurants and night clubs, 
People wondered how and when Banksy managed to do his stuff in such a busy area? 
 Maybe Banksy did it during the evening rush hour when people were either rushing  home or rushing in and out  shops and bars ; too busy  to notice anything like that.
 Word soon spread that Banksy had indeed confirmed he did it and he had given the painting  named "Slave Labour" as a Jubilee gift to Wood Green community.
People were very  pleased to hear that Haringey  council which Wood Green  community belongs  to ,  was the only London council  to receive a Banksy  during the  Jubilee and this was considered as an  honour.
North London boasts of  being  home to  a high  number of world- famous celebrities. 
Being the top  choice residential area for the rich and famous in London , there were suspicions that Banksy  could indeed be  a resident of the community or he is living   in any of the areas in North London , not  far from Wood Green ?

Since its surprise arrival last year summer,  the beautiful art work  named "Slave Labour " had been pride to the Wood Green community as a tourist attraction .
The perspex- covered painting on the street wall  had attracted millions of people from all over the world. Their visits  to  the shops nearby , ended with viewing the "Slave Labour"on the wall.
                  " Slave Labour " on the wall in Wood Green ,  before it was stolen.
                                             Visitors at the site before it was stolen

A few weeks ago , the community  was alarmed to  discover that the Banksy had been removed , stolen !
It's spot where Banksy had placed it  was empty .
The public reaction was one of outrage and shock , leading to  public protests.
Details of the backlash emerged after a stencil of a rat holding a sign that reads 'Why?' appeared on the Haringey wall, next to the blank spot where 'Slave Labour' used to be.
Banksy did  not remove it , who did?
There was a swift  reaction from Banksy himself;  who came  to  paint  two new graffiti tagged "DANGER , THIEVES" and another one of  "RATTY ", Banksy's buddy , a giant rat holding a "WHY" poster;  on the blank spot where Banksy's  "Slave Labour" used to be. 
 It is thought the rat could be the reclusive graffiti artist's way of voicing his verdict on the row over his original piece.
                                Dear  old "Ratty".
Today , this  one metre square  " RATTY " art piece , with its "Why ?" poster ; has become  famous world wide and on it own ,  it is being valued at an estimated value of at least £100,000.00;  even before the return  of "Slave Labour" .
All  thanks  to the uproar created by  the  missing "Slave Labour" , 

The blank  spot on the wall soon attracted thousands of visitors, including myself  .
As at today , some artists  have decided  to  paint  their own work , showing  a  Banksy imitation Nun painting ?( looks like a real Banksy to  me)  , a Valentine heart  and orange colour graffiti  , painted on the blank spot ; thereby underlining  the painful reminder that  the original Banksy  painting  is no longer  there  .

Angry  protests  were organised to demand  for the return of the art  piece when news spread that  not only  had the  art been stolen , it  had surfaced about 4500 miles  away in the USA and that the  "Slave Boy" was about  to be sold to the highest bidder in a Florida auction !
Local residents, who had become attached to the  famous street  painting , were left furious that a piece of work given to the community for free could be sold for profit.

Outraged art fans had been bombarding the auction house with abusive calls and e-mails.
Frederic Thut, owner of Fine Art Auctions Miami, previously insisted the sale of the artwork is legitimate, but admitted he had been inundated with angry phone calls and e-mails from the UK.
 Many  people could agree with the idea that the owners of the building  have a legitimate  right  to sell the art in art auction  because Banksy  painting on THEIR  wall was unsolicited  and without their permission and so the piece of art is their property. 
But where was Banksy supposed to place  his anonymous gift painting to Wood Green? 
Hang it  on thin air ?
The good news here is that  the protest  about the auction of " Slave Labour " has paid off.
A few days  ago, the breaking  news was that the planned auction  of "Slave Labour " had been stopped and it  had been retrieved from the  Florida auction house, at the  last minute,  where a bid of $600,000 ( about £500,000) was already placed on it.

In the UK and worldwide, from public  places and peoples' homes,  many precious art works have been stolen to order ; and sold  , never to  be seen again because  most  stolen art are kept in secret vaults  by art collectors .
But this story of the Wood Green "Banksy " is different. It  has  been saved from a similar  fate because  its present location  and the faces of  those who tried  to sell it is now public knowledge . 
 Retrieving  AND  and replacing the " Slave Labour" back  to  its place  on the Wood Green wall, would go a long way to appease  the hurt  and anger caused by its disappearance in the  Wood Green community. 
I know this fact because I live in Hornsey Park ,also  in  North  London and  a few minutes drive  from Wood Green.
Some people could argue  that after it has been  retrieved , returning "Slave Labour" to its former spot  would be a fool-hardy  thing as this would attract even more  attention and attempts  from international professional art  thieves who would soon after prise it from the wall .
I don't think so  because Banksy's "Slave Labour " ( and "Ratty")  , because of the protests from the British public , both Banksy art pieces  are  now world famous.
 As such , they have  become " too hot  to handle "; too risky to be sold and too difficult  to find buyers for them.
Of course there are eccentric  art collectors who are willing  to pay a very  high price for stolen  famous art masterpieces which they would stash away  in their cellars underneath their mansions for their own private viewing only.
Where is their  pleasure then; what is the point of owning a "Banksy" , or any  other  art  masterpiece which  you  dare not show off  to your friends and to  the world?
As  the retrieved  "Slave Labour " is on its way  back  home , where it  belongs; it is time  for an exchange of back -patting   by the residents  of  Wood Green , for  a job well-done . 
Kudos  to  People Power !

Here are just a  few  of  Banksy's  gifts  to the world ; which he painted on public and private  walls.






My favourite Banksy's  "RAT "  Art







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