Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Murals, morals and money

When, back in October, Banksy enlivened a wall on the corner of Rothesay Avenue and Ilkeston Road in Nottingham with an image of a young girl hula-hooping with a bike tyre, I wondered whether, from the perspective of the building's owners, it might turn out to be more trouble than it was worth. Now we have an answer: it wasn't any trouble, and proved to be worth an awful lot. The solution was simple, and - it seems - one that has been used before: simply remove the section of wall altogether and flog it to a gallery for a small fortune.

So much for my old street being home to the work of an internationally renowned artist, then. When the image first appeared, Jasinya Powell wasn't the only local resident to react positively, commenting: "Nottingham needed something like this." Her response to its removal? "It's capitalism at its finest - it's all about the Benjamins at the end of the day."

Buyer John Brandler has inevitably claimed that the move was necessary for the sake of preservation, while, according to the Evening Post, the owner was frustrated in their attempts to donate the artwork and will be gifting the proceeds instead. But the way things have panned out for the area and the community - with a piece of ostensibly public art passing into private hands - still leaves a very sour taste in the mouth.

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