Thanet council has returned a chest freezer to the site of a Banksy art work in Margate, saying it has now been made safe.
The piece, titled Valentine’s Day Mascara, appeared on the wall of a property in Park Place (rear of Grosvenor Place) overnight on February 12/13 and originally showed a woman with a swollen shut eye and missing tooth with a man’s legs poking out from a chest freezer, alongside an upturned chair and a beer bottle. It is understood to be a comment on domestic violence.
However, the work used a chest freezer with a jammed open lid as a prop and this was removed by Thanet council yesterday to be ‘made safe.’
A Thanet council spokesperson said: “The freezer which council operatives removed from the Banksy installation in Margate has now been made safe. It has been returned to its original position at the site of the artwork today.
“The council has a duty to ensure the ongoing safety of the public; it was necessary to carry out works to the freezer for health and safety reasons.
“Banksy raises the important issue of domestic abuse in this artwork. We are in touch with the owner of the property to understand their intentions around the preservation of the piece and to secure the best possible outcome for the local community and victims of domestic abuse.”
A protective layer was also put over part of the stencil work last night, this work was not carried out by the council and the Perspex has been removed and replaced to cover the whole piece.
Banksy’s stencils feature striking and, often darkly humorous, images occasionally combined with slogans. The message is usually anti-war, anti-capitalist or anti-establishment. The arts are worth huge sums of money.
Highlighting domestic violence
The isle has the highest rates of reported domestic violence in Kent – excluding Medway- with 4,369 recorded crimes in the 2020-2021 year (March-February). This was a rise of 11.8% rise over a three-year time period.
Of the 4369 recorded reports of domestic abuse in 2020-21, there were 1,836 arrests – a 30% rise across 2018-21.
But the number of charges brought was just 278 – although this was more than double the 130 charges brought in 2019-20,
The majority of cases – consistently between 72-76% – involve partners or ex partners.
Last year a £4.1million social investment loan was granted to Thanet-based Oasis Domestic Abuse (Oasis), to fund the purchase of 22 properties, providing 32 bed spaces for women, men and their families escaping domestic abuse.
Oasis expected to buy 12 properties in Thanet, and another 10 properties in Medway, adding to their current portfolio of 20 managed properties.
The loan to the charity, which has been supporting domestic abuse victims for more than 25 years, was from Social and Sustainable Capital (SASC).
In 2020/21 Oasis supported nearly 800 people across Kent and Medway, including 622 adults and 163 children.
The charity says: “We always appreciate artists raising awareness of the issues faced by many members of our community. To us, the new artwork by Banksy in Margate ‘Valentine’s Day Mascara’ is a stark reminder of some of the complex risks faced in Domestic Abuse and the symbolic need for freedom from abuse that those experiencing abuse face, especially on a day of celebrating love – which should never hurt.”
Oasis CEO Deborah Cartwright added: “We are grateful for the awareness raised in this artwork of the issues faced by women when they experience abuse in their homes. Using the 1950s referencing is especially meaningful as it makes us ask ourselves ‘why do we live in a society where women still cannot feel safe in their homes?'”
Domestic violence – get help
Find help information from Oasis Domestic Abuse service at http://www.oasisdaservice.org/get-help-now and click the ‘exit now’ button to erase all traces from your Internet history.
Call Kent Domestic Abuse Services Victim Support on 0808 168 9276
The National Domestic Abuse Helpline is run by Refuge and offers free, confidential support 24 hours a day to victims and those who are worried about friends and loved ones. Telephone: 0808 2000 247
The Men’s Advice Line is a confidential helpline for male victims of domestic abuse and those supporting them.
Call 0808 801 0327.
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