Controversial Banksy graffiti art set for sale again
Pulled from earlier auction, Slave Labour stencil now on the block in London
A provocative artwork by popular graffiti artist Banksy is to be put up for sale again, despite an earlier dispute when it was first removed from the side of a north London shop.
The Banksy stencil work Slave Labour (Bunting Boy) has been restored, "was legally salvaged" and will be sold through a private exhibition and sale at the London Film Museum on June 2, organizers announced.
The artwork depicts a young boy sewing Union Jack bunting on an antique sewing machine and appeared on an outer wall of a thrift shop in the Wood Green district last May, around the time of the celebrations surrounding Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee. Viewed as a commentary on sweatshop labour, the graffiti work drew crowds of onlookers and art-lovers to the gritty Turnpike Lane area.
Controversy followed when the piece vanished in February, leaving a patch of exposed brick that was quickly plastered over. It soon turned up for auction in Miami carrying a pre-sale estimate of $500,000 to $700,000 US.
Though originally believed stolen when it first disappeared, London police reported that there had been "no reports of any theft."
Slave Labour (Bunting Boy) was ultimately yanked from sale, following a vocal campaign to return the piece to its original site. Led by a local councillor, the group that halted the Miami sale is also working to stop the upcoming sale.
"We feel very strongly that this piece was given freely by Banksy to our area, it belongs to the community and it should be returned to Wood Green," Coun. Alan Strickland told Agence France-Presse.
"People from around the world have got in touch with us about this," he added.
"They are watching this because they know the possible consequences for street art where they live if this sale takes place...If it goes ahead every piece of street art will have its price."
With files from The Associated Press