Banksy mu­ral de­stroyed by ‘ur­gent work’

The Myanmar Times - - The Pulse -

A£1 MIL­LION (US$1.3 mil­lion) mu­ral by Bri­tish street artist Banksy which mocked gov­ern­ment sur­veil­lance has been de­stroyed dur­ing build­ing works on the house on which it ap­peared in 2014, the lo­cal coun­cil said on Au­gust 22.

The piece, ti­tled “Spy Booth”, de­picted three men in trench coats us­ing lis­ten­ing de­vices to tap into con­ver­sa­tions at an ac­tual pub­lic tele­phone box in Chel­tenham, south­west Eng­land.

It was lo­cated just 3 miles (5 kilo­me­tres) from the UK gov­ern­ment lis­ten­ing post GCHQ, which was the sub­ject of a se­ries of reve­la­tions by fugi­tive for­mer US in­tel­li­gence con­trac­tor Ed­ward Snow­den.

The lo­cal coun­cil said the owner had con­firmed the mu­ral was dam­aged dur­ing ur­gent works on the end-of-ter­race home, which was given pro­tected sta­tus af­ter the mu­ral ap­peared overnight in April 2014.

“He was car­ry­ing out works to his prop­erty fol­low­ing an ur­gent works no­tice is­sued by the coun­cil to stop fur­ther de­te­ri­o­ra­tion of the listed build­ing,” said coun­cil of­fi­cial Mark Nel­son.

“We were aware of loose ren­der on that part of the build­ing where this was sit­u­ated but the ex­tent and how far it would af­fect the mu­ral was un­known un­til work pro­gressed.”

A pic­ture on Twit­ter ap­peared to show the wall stripped back to the brick­work.

The prop­erty owner has made avail­able pieces of the ren­der­ing on which the art­work was painted for the coun­cil to use in its in­ves­ti­ga­tion, said Nel­son.

The mu­ral had be­come a tourist at­trac­tion but was dam­aged when fel­low graf­fiti artists spray-painted sil­ver and red on to the elu­sive artist’s de­sign.

Alex Chalk, the Con­ser­va­tive MP for the town, de­scribed the de­struc­tion as “shock­ing news”, call­ing the work an “ad­mired piece of Chel­tenham’s artis­tic her­itage”.

“We need an ur­gent in­quiry to get to the bot­tom of what hap­pened. Who­ever is re­spon­si­ble needs to be held to ac­count,” he said, ac­cord­ing to the Press As­so­ci­a­tion.

Banksy is renowned for his street art­works, which often use sub­ver­sive or satir­i­cal im­agery to tackle sub­jects such as war, cap­i­tal­ism, hypocrisy and greed.

He also left an art­work on Is­rael’s con­tro­ver­sial West Bank sep­a­ra­tion bar­rier.

The artist’s iden­tity re­mains shrouded in se­crecy but he is be­lieved to have started out as a graf­fiti artist in the south­west­ern city of Bris­tol.

Photo: Face­book/ Street Art Magic

The Spy Booth mu­ral de­picted gov­ern­ment spooks tap­ping a pub­lic phone.

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