Freezer returned to Banksy art work in Margate which highlights issue of domestic abuse

The freezer is back and the art work has protective covering Photo Frank Leppard

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.’

How the Valentine’s Day Mascara by artist Banksy originally looked Photo Frank Leppard

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.

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“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 and a temporary replacement for the freezer this morning! Photo John Horton

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 Banksy art work in Margate commenting on domestic violence Photo Frank Leppard

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 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.

The hidden victims of domestic violence and the work of the Oasis service to help rebuild lives

Margate wall painting confirmed as piece by street artist Banksy

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  1. It shouldn’t have been removed in the first place, l would like to know why TDC didn’t remove the freezer weeks or months ago before the painting.

    • Perhaps the freezer like other flytips nearby have not been reported in the weeks or months it has all been there until it has been highlighted since yesterday

    • Get a photo of the operatives returning the freezer together with a photo of the vehicle showing the number plate then report with the photo’s. Lets see if TDC prosecute.

      One other thought will the householder have to apply for planning permission for the drawing. ?

  2. Seriously, this does set a very strange precident. Yes, it highlights domestic violence, which is of course highly commendable. But WHO decides what IS ok? Graffiti/Fly Tipping that highlights Poverty? Fuel Prices? Immigration? The abuse of children by gangs in Rotherham? It is something that should be legislated, instead of just decided by unknown person(s) at local council level. Alternatively, of course, it could just be decided that ALL graffiti and ALL Fly Tipping is illegal.

    • What about the abuse of children in Thanet? Margate has a long and sordid history of paedophilia or is that the wrong demographic for you peter?

          • Just paint over it and forget about it ,after all it’s just graffiti, why is there always so much fuss over graffiti. Wasting tax payers money again.

        • I think some graffiti is good actually and there are many talented graffiti artists out there. Banksy’s ok, he just happens to have caught media attention and hype. However I am so glad he didn’t put this piece up on the art box at Newgate Gap as that would have just been the cherry on top for its narcissistic owners..

  3. FFS..the freezer has become the BIG news,rather than the graffiti!
    TDC now condoning fly tipping,with its actions.So fly tipping is ok,so long as the council do it.”Don’t Do As I Do,…..”

  4. Better than Ian Drivers attempt on Dickens House & a few other places in Thanet.
    I believe he had to go to court for his graffiti – Will this guy called Banksy face the same justice system?

  5. A serious question: How often is it reported that a man has been beaten up by his partner. ?
    In the days when it wasn’t illegal to listen into Police radio conversations I remember at the age of 15 listening into a request for assistance whereon a woman was assaulting up her partner. Could this not still be the case today on occasions. ?

    Please I don’t want excuses. Assault is assault no matter whom the instigator is. Self control is the order of the day.

  6. I have two questions :

    1. Why has the broken chair not been returned. Surely this was part of the original installation ?

    2. Has the freezer now been bolted or concreted down in order to prevent it from being purloined – either as a valuable artistic artifact or merely as a prank ?

      • Whatever will we see next? Someone arrested for taking the Fly Tipped freezer to the dump or (erm) putting graffiti on the graffiti? Such barminess wouldn’t surprise me. And what for? Some “artist” too shy to even show it’s face (and I still think it’s Ian Driver!).

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