A few weeks ago, I found out about the interesting case of the missing street art ‘Slave Labour‘ taken from the side of a Poundland shop.
It seems to have happened again. This time in less mysterious, but equally as sinister, circumstances. A piece of Banksy artwork entitled ‘No Ball Games’ has been removed from Tottenham in London. The Sincura Group, the same company who came to acquire ‘Slave Labour’, have openly taken responsibility for the removal of this artwork, saying they are going to repair it, auction it off and donate the funds to a local charity. It seems they are dressing this act up as as a good cause, saying that the artwork has been defaced and damaged and they are stepping in to restore it to ‘its former glory’ as they stated. The local community feels differently though. It has been part of their landscape. The whole point of street art is that it belongs to the community, to anyone. Now the gap where the artwork was will be known for once being a little piece of Banksy art.
This again brings to mind the sad fact that street art is not in fact everyone’s art. Economic forces inevitably come into play and the art elite take their share irrespective of the views or original intentions of the artist. If the artist gives his or her art to the community, the art elite is able to take ownership.
BBC Website article, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-23461396 [last accessed 27 July 2013]
With these pieces selling for hundreds of thousands of pounds, there’s probably no structure that Banksy could paint on where the cost of removal isn’t dwarfed by the potential proceeds of sale.