At Large  September 6, 2019  Chandra Noyes

Banksy Brexit Mural Mysteriously Disappears

flickr/DUNK

Never one to shy away from controversy, the world’s most famous graffiti artist, the anonymous Banksy has found himself in the spotlight yet again. His works, which sometimes still appear unannounced on the sides of buildings, were once considered a nuisance, but are now instantly considered valuable cultural treasures.

When one such mural emerged in Dover in 2017, it delighted the local community. The large-scale piece depicted a European Union flag with an overall-clad worker chipping away at one of the flag’s stars with a hammer and chisel. The how’s, why’s and what-if’s of a potential exit of the UK from the European Union has dominated British politics and conversations for the past few years. Banksy’s work comments on how Brexit would erode the European Union.

flickr/DUNK

The mural appeared in 2017 on the side of the Castle Amusements building, a former arcade,  in the port city of Dover. It instantly became a tourist attraction, drawing scores of selfie-taking visitors. Having their own Banksy original was also a point of pride for locals.

But after two years, all that ended on a Sunday in late August. A four-story scaffolding was assembled beside the building, and by the end of the day, the work was gone, shocking the local community.

The owners of the building had previously expressed interest in selling the work, and it is unclear if that is what happened, or if the mural was simply painted over. The building, which is in a state of disrepair, was slated to be demolished before the mural appeared. Because the work was installed illegally on private property, it’s fate lay in the hands of the building’s owners, and no laws protect it from destruction.

Though there has been public outcry at the loss of the mural, the family who owns the building has not commented on the work’s fate.

About the Author

Chandra Noyes

Chandra Noyes is Managing Editor for Art & Object.

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