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Campaign aims to bring Banksy home
Wednesday, 27 February 2013
Taken: Slave Labour, by Banksy, appeared on the wall of a shop in Wood Green, last year, before being removed this month
A CAMPAIGN has been launched to bring missing Banksy mural “Slave Labour” back to Haringey.
The work by the mysterious street artist appeared on the wall of the Poundland store, in Whymark Avenue, Wood Green, at the end of May last year, just before the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
It shows a young boy crouched over a sewing machine making Union Jack bunting.
But the much-loved landmark was removed the weekend before last before reappearing for auction in Miami, in the US.
It had been expected to go under the hammer for more than $400,000 (£264,000) on Saturday, but was withdrawn from sale at the last moment.
Auction house Fine Art Auctions Miami refused to give a reason for pulling the lot – as well as a second Banksy work – but it followed a well-documented public protest outside the discount store in Wood Green earlier that day.
Hordes of art lovers and residents gathered despite freezing temperatures, rousing the local and national media present by singing “My Banksy Lies Over The Ocean”.
And now the pressure has been stepped up to have the work returned to Haringey.
Council leader Claire Kober said: “It’s a true credit to the community that their campaigning appears to have helped stop the sale of this artwork from going ahead.
"We will continue to explore all options to bring back Banksy to the community where it belongs.”
Wood Green ward councillor Alan Strickland, who led the protests against the sale, said: “The Banksy created a huge amount of excitement when it first appeared and residents were understandably shocked and angry that it was removed for private sale.
“The community feels that this artwork 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.”
After the work appeared, it quickly became a big draw for people from across the UK – so much so that a sign was erected at Turnpike Lane Tube station pointing people in the direction of the mural.
While visitors may not currently be able to view a Banksy, more than one new artwork has taken its place on the side of the shop.
The main image of a nun with a red star over one eye appeared on Saturday afternoon, at the same time as the community protest.
According to Turnpike Art Group, it is based on a Victorian advert for Cherry Blossom perfume and soap.
The creator is unknown.
The religious figure is flanked to the right by a rat holding a sign asking “Why?” and a small man with an umbrella, and to the left by a “Danger, Thieves” warning, which has been in place since the Banksy was removed.
Haringey Council is backing a social media campaign to have the Banksy returned to its original spot.
Anyone wishing to add their name can do so by joining the Bring Back Banksy group on Facebook, or on Twitter at #bring backbanksy
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Sir Ray Tindle
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