After one of his pieces was gouged from a wall and is being sold by an American art dealer, graffiti artist Banksy appears to have taken to the same wall to voice his verdict on the row.
A stencil image of a rat holding a sign saying ‘Why?’ appeared on the same Haringey wall where his work ‘Banksy Slave Labour’ formerly was.
Banksy Slave Labour, depicting a child labourer sewing Union Jack bunting, is expected to fetch £450,000 on the Fine Art Auctions Miami website.
Many hands, one Artist.
It is expected to fetch around £450,000.
The street art was stencilled onto the side of a Poundland shop in Wood Green in 2012 and protected by a perspex screen, but disappeared last week.
And it was claimed today that the Metropolitan police have been asked by the FBI to investigate the removal of the painting, although there is no suggestion it was taken away unlawfully.
The US officials have waded into the row after the disappearance prompted a storm of outrage by furious Haringey businesses and residents, the Evening Standard reported.
The owner of the auction house Frederic Thut claimed it was being sold by a ‘well-known’ collector who is not British but refused to divulge any more information. He added that the painting was being stored in Europe.
Locals are furious about the painting being taken from the wall.
Councillor Alan Strickland says the artwork was a ‘gift’ to his community and has instigated a campaign to get the artwork returned by urging people to e-mail the U.S. auction website.
He said: ‘The Banksy appeared last May and created lots of excitement in the area – people were coming from across London to see it.
‘We were really proud to have a Banksy in our neighbourhood, so residents were shocked to realise it had been ripped out of the wall.
‘The community feels that this art was given to us, for free, and it’s now been taken away to be sold for huge profit. I’m very angry about the Banksy going – we want our Banksy back!’
Much of the controversial artist’s work is believed to have a political message, and Slave Labour is believed to be a statement on sweatshops churning out decorations and memorabilia got the Golden Jubilee and the London 2012 Olympics.
In 2008 the graffiti artist Banksy has revealed that millions of pounds worth of works attributed to him are fakes.
A body set up by the artist to verify his work identified 226 falsely attributed pieces in eight months in 2008.
He said at the time: He said: ‘Graffiti art has a hard enough life as it is – with council workers wanting to remove it and kids wanting to draw moustaches on it, before you add hedgefund managers wanting to chop it out and hang it over the fireplace.
‘For the sake of keeping all street art where it belongs I’d encourage people not to buy anything by anybody unless it was created for sale in the first place.’