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Hackney Council 'clean up' Banksy
A painting by graffiti artist Banksy, described as 'provocative but humorous', has been partially removed by the council. Local residents say they should have been consulted first.
His paintings may fetch well over £100,000 at auction, but that didn’t stop the Hackney Graffiti Removal Unit from adding their own finishing touches to one of his latest works.
The Banksy which appeared a couple of months ago on the side of a Vietnamese Restaurant in Victoria Park Road amused many locals.† It depicted an old-fashioned artist, complete with paint-box and palette, delicately scrawling a giant graffiti-style phallus.†
The removal team chose to leave the picture of the artist in place but their attempts to remove the phallus were not 100% successful - the outline is still clearly visible.† Some of the picture’s subtlety has been lost though.† Previously the outline was depicted in the same blue as the paint on the artist’s brush and palette.
Linh Vu, co-owner of Namo, the restaurant whose wall hosts the picture believes it† fitted well on the end-wall, cheering up the street.† “It’s provocative but humorous and makes life less dreary” she says, adding that the council's action is at odds with the artistic nature of the area.† "They try to promote Hackney as diverse and cultural and then they do this.”†
Other local people are annoyed too.† Dina Bornat, a local resident told BBC London, “We’ve been given a work of art.† It’s a shame the council have defaced it”.
Jenny† Konko, who chairs the Victoria Park Traders’ Association says “I wish they’d asked local people before taking action.† We’ve only ever heard positive comments about it from customers in the shop”.
Hackney and Banksy have 'history'.
Hackney Council have run into controversy before, when they removed Banksy’s work from Gillett Square just before the newly renovated arts-quarter was officially opened.†
The decision to leave part of the Banksy, effectively censoring it, appears to be a departure for the council.††Fiona Fletcher Smith, Director of Neighbourhoods and Regeneration, said:
“Hackney Council has a clear obligation to keep its streets clean and to remove racist or offensive graffiti. Most people would rather not have pictures of penises daubed on walls in their area. If whoever painted it would like to come along to discuss our policy, I’m sure the Council enforcement team or police will be keen to talk to them.”
If you have a photo of a Banksy near you, send it with a note of its location to email@example.com for our Banksy gallery.
last updated: 02/04/2008 at 17:02
Have Your Say
Were Hackney right to tamper with the Banksy? Should they have removed it all if they were clearing graffiti?
john the local lad