'Missing' Banksy mural could fetch $700k at auction

Tuesday 19 February 2013 23.46
The artwork could fetch up to $700,000
The artwork could fetch up to $700,000

A Banksy mural that vanished from north London last week could now fetch up to $700,000 at an American auction.

It has prompted the local authority where it originally was to ask the UK Arts Council for help in recovering it.

Haringey Council has written to the Arts Council saying it wants to bring back the piece of street art, which depicts a young boy hunched over a sewing machine making Union Jack bunting, as it is a symbol of local pride.

The mural, which was painted in May 2012, just before the Diamond Jubilee, disappeared from the side of a Poundland shop and is expected to fetch up to $700,000 at Fine Art Auctions in Miami, Florida, on Saturday.

The council is leading a campaign to bring back the artwork, and has called on the Arts Council to intervene due to the local and national significance of the art work.

Councillor Alan Strickland said: "The Banksy created a huge amount of excitement when it first appeared, and residents are understandably shocked and angry that it has been removed for private sale.

"The community feels that this art work was given to it for free, and that it should be kept in Haringey where it belongs, not sold for a fast buck.

"This is an area that was rocked by riots less than a year before this mural was painted, and for many in the community the painting has become a real symbol of local pride.

"I've written to the Arts Council to ask them to explore whether this art work is being exported appropriately.

"We're asking the Arts Council to intervene because we believe that the strong local and national significance of the mural mean it is wrong to export it.

"We're determined to do what we can to bring back Banksy to Haringey."

An Arts Council spokeswoman said it was a shame the mural had been removed but did not commit to recovering it.

"We believe all art, whether viewed in a gallery, museum or in the everyday urban environment, should be valued - so it is a shame that a piece of street art that is well loved by the local community has been removed for auction," she said

"We understand that Haringey Council is currently investigating how the removal occurred and we await the outcome of their investigation with interest."