More than 200 people have signed a petition asking for the Banksy art work in Margate to remain in Thanet.
Resident Chris Joy posted the change.org petition yesterday, saying: “We’re all aware of the Banksy mural that was installed on a wall in Margate this Valentine’s Day.
“There are plans to see it removed and likely sold at auction in London. The proceeds of this auction will go to an important cause. However, the art should remain in Thanet, it was gifted to the area by the artist and our area is already underfunded. Gifts like this can help to boost the culture and tourism.
“It is not right that it has been taken away from us without any community discussion. The action to remove it under security supervisor is happening so fast, they seem to want to do it before objections can be put to them.”
The piece in Margate 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 a comment on domestic violence.
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 the following day but it was taken away yet again that night.
A new protective covering was also put over the stencil work.
The freezer is being held in storage by Red Eight Gallery 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.
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.
“The owner is very grateful for the gift 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.”
There is concern that the artwork will be removed from Thanet to the Red Eight Gallery in London.
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.
Red Eight Gallery says: “Our role is to help those entering the art market for the first time and seasoned collectors to make investments with minimal risk thanks to our extensive knowledge and contacts in the art world.”
On the petition page, Chris says: “I understand we do not have rights to decide its future, but I hope with enough show of support, the owners and/or future owners may take our wish to keep it in Margate, Thanet into consideration.”
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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