Michael Sheen contributes to Banksy artwork protection in his hometown
The graffiti appeared on a local man’s garage
Michael Sheen has contributed towards security costs to protect a new Banksy artwork in his hometown in Wales.
The Hollywood actor has also given access to legal advice to those in need in Port Talbot, where thousands are said to have flocked to see the mural by the elusive artist on a garage in the area.
A spokeswoman for the Frost/Nixon star, who grew up in Baglan, the adjoining village to Port Talbot, confirmed his contribution, which included a donation to a protective plastic screen covering the artwork.
The screen was fitted for free by a local businessman.
Ian Lewis, a steelworker at Port Talbot’s Steel plant who owns the garage used by Banksy as a canvas for the artwork, said earlier this week he has not slept properly since the piece – which shows a child playing in the falling ash and smoke from a fire – appeared on his hand-built building.
On Thursday he said he was paying out of his own pocket for a security team to guard the Banksy work after admitting he was struggling with the attention it has been receiving.
Mr Lewis, 55, said: “It started off as fun, but now it’s gone to stress. It’s down to not sleeping, but now I’ve got the security there it’s taken that weight off me. They will stay there indefinitely now I think.”
The quiet alley housing the graffiti mural in Taibach, Port Talbot, has been filling with art fans since the famous artist’s mural appeared on Tuesday morning, leading to concerns about the sudden increase in traffic for residents.
On Friday, Neath Port Talbot Council announced it was going to place two members of staff at the site to help manage the large number of vehicles which are parking and filling the side street.
A council spokesman said: “This will be a temporary measure over the Christmas and New Year holiday period because we believe, due to worldwide publicity, this area of Port Talbot is going to attract a large number of visitors.
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“We understand the excitement but we want to remind visitors this is a residential area and would ask that people coming to photograph or view the Banksy to do their best not disturb those living nearby.
“We would also ask that motorists do not park in the narrow lane where the artwork is located but find a safe and appropriate place to park elsewhere and then walk.”
Banksy claimed responsibility for the new artwork on his website and Instagram account on Wednesday.
The work is Banksy’s first in Wales and is believed to be a comment on the town’s industrial heritage and pollution linked to its famous steel plant.