The saga of the freezer prop from the Banksy art work in Margate continues after it was removed once again last night (February 15).
It has not been removed by Thanet council and is being held in storage by a gallery, named as Red Eight Gallery by ITV, for ‘security’ purposes. They were called in by the owner of the property that the work has been stencilled on.
Red Eight Gallery chief exec Julian Usher said the gallery plans to remove the entire installation and display it. Turner Contemporary has been approached about exhibiting the work.
(Update) Mr Usher said: “I can confirm that we have been instructed by the house owner to handle the safe removal and promotion while a permanent home is sought. However, they have stipulated that they wish a local charity supporting prevention of domestic abuse against women to benefit along with the piece being used to raise awareness in Margate and nationally.
“We have reached out to Turner Contemporary art gallery and are in conversation with civil engineers and building contractors regarding the safe removal of the piece.
“Regarding the freezer, the council removed it to make it safe and we have protected the wall with a Perspex cover. The freezer has been returned by the council and is currently in storage for safe keeping until it can be reunited with the art once the wall has been removed.
“The owner is very grateful for the gist that Banksy has given them and they will do everything possible to raise awareness, continuing the message Banksy is promoting.
“The owners feel the weight of responsibility placed on them with this unexpected turn of events and will do everything they can to promote the message around domestic abuse, honour the significant interests of the Margate community whilst preserving the art work for posterity.”
The owner of the property which the Banksy is stencilled on said: “We were not in our wildest dreams expecting this. Without the support and quick actions of Red Eight Gallery we have no doubt the art work would not still be intact. We’ll do our best to respect the major parties involved but our key focus is raising awareness of domestic abuse against women.”
In 2021 a property owner in Lowestoft removed an entire wall which Banksy had stencilled. Workmen then cut the artwork out from the brick.
Last year Red Eight Gallery held the first Banksy exhibition in the City of London, called Banking on Banksy, as the venue’s launch event.
The exhibition contained more than 35 Banksy works, from originals to screen prints to sculptures including many of his popular pieces and some of his less well known works.
The piece in Margate, 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 on February 14 to be ‘made safe’ as it was on public land. Council workers returned the freezer to the site yesterday but it was taken away yet again last night.
A new protective covering was also put over the stencil work yesterday by gallery workers.
Since the freezer was removed for the second time, locals have been bringing their own replacements!
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