Anger as Banksy torn from wall and put on paid display
Published 16/04/2014 | 02:30
A row has broken out after an artwork by UK street artist Banksy was removed from a door and placed on paid display just hours after it was discovered.
'Mobile Lovers' was posted to the celebrated street artist's website on Monday but its whereabouts were not disclosed, and only discovered yesterday as being on Clement Street, just outside Bristol city centre.
It sits on a painted black wooden panel set into a stone wall and depicts two lovers embracing, while checking their mobile phones.
Photographers and news crews arrived in the afternoon to capture the image, which was painted onto a black piece of wood screwed onto a wall.
But at 4pm a group from the financially struggling Broad Plain and Riverside Youth Project – situated just beside the piece – used crowbars to remove it.
A sign was then placed on the boarded-up doorway stating: "NOTICE: The new Banksy piece is being held by our club to prevent any vandalism being done. You are free to come and view but a small donation will be asked of you. Thanks."
Bristol City Council said it was not "100pc sure of the ownership" of the wall 'Mobile Lovers' was attached to.
Dennis Stinchcombe, the youth project leader, said he had been urged to take the piece by a friend of Banksy: "He said 'you need to take that Dennis, get it into that club – it's what it is meant for'.
"We need £120,000 to keep going and our fundraising appeal has so far only brought in a few thousand pounds. Now we've ended up with a Banksy on our doorstep. It is a dream come true.
"We have taken it off the wall carefully, it isn't damaged at all. If we hadn't taken it, someone would have ripped it from the wall or vandalised it."
Visitors were stunned to discover the notice. "It is a real shame because it ruins it," said local Rachel Deans (22). "It was on a door, it was supposed to be seen. The whole point of street art is that it's there."