Banksy is a world-famous artist and one of the main contemporary representatives of street art. What makes this artist famous? The reasons are multiple: his identity is still unknown, which gives him a mysterious aura; his works convey strong messages: they are satirical works that address cultural, political, and ethical issues. Banksy’s works are public, open to the public: the artist does not sell photographs or reproductions in other media. Over the years, however, a trade contrary to this original ethic has developed: some auctioneers try to sell the work to the highest bidder, by “ripping” the fresco from its place of origin: the street.
This is what happened in the UK. In Lowestoft, and notably in a former electrical store building, a work by Banksy appeared, depicting a child with a crowbar: the work was titled ‘ Crowbar Girl ‘. Next to the child, a real sandcastle. One day, however, the work suddenly disappeared, literally torn from the wall where it had been drawn. Gary and Nadine Schwartz, the couple who own the building, are the kidnappers. They removed the work and part of the wall and auctioned it off.
source used: Julian Forbes/Facebook
This opened a debate on the seriousness of the act : did Gary and Nadine have the right to do this? The town’s deputy mayor, Nasima Begum, called the couple’s actions “shameful”, as they had chosen to profit from property that did not belong to them. Banksy’s work was not created for financial gain, but to convey a message to all passers-by. This work also had the power to attract visitors and tourists to the region: the curious flocked to see with their own eyes the work of the famous artist. The value of the buildings Banksy paints on is going up, and that’s what happened to this store.
The old electrical workshop took on a market value of £300,000 after the mural appeared. When the artist later declared the work to be part of his ‘Great British Spraycation’ series, its value rose to £500,000. What happened to “Crowbar Girl”? It was initially thought to have been shipped to the US, but it was later discovered that it never left the UK and was purchased by a buyer for an unknown price, which may reach £2 million.
source used: BBC