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Banksy art ripped out of building wall by UK landlord

It’s true: Life sometimes does imitate art.

In something of a self-fulfilling prophecy, a Banksy mural of a crowbar-wielding child — painted behind a real, half-demolished sandcastle and a hunk of pavement — has been ripped out of the wall due to its worth. 

Months after the secretive street artist confirmed that the mural in the Suffolk, England, town of Lowestoft was his own creation, workmen went to work removing the piece from the former electrical shop.

On Sunday, workmen were seen excavating the painted portion of the wall on London Road North. 

The East Suffolk Council spoke with the landlord and confirmed that the artwork was being intentionally and consensually removed by the property owner, the group said in a statement. Before the landlord had it excavated, the council had the painted section of the wall covered in a plastic screen, according to the BBC

The building post-Banksy removal.
Crispin Hook/SWNS
The work by Banksy is loaded onto a flatbed trailer.
The work by Banksy is loaded onto a flatbed trailer.
Crispin Hook/SWNS

“Yesterday they put a lintel in and cut the wall above it — now they’ve [strengthened] both sides with wood and framing,” taxi driver Rob Hook, who witnessed the structure’s deconstruction, told the BBC. “Now they’re busy cutting the wall around it … the whole section of wall with the mural on it.”

Locals are less than pleased about the relocation of the art to a yet-unknown destination.

“If it’s being removed to be displayed in a more prominent location within the town in an artistic context, then that’s lovely,” Easterly Artists Chairman Miles Barry told the BBC. “If it’s because the owner realized having it in location adds £200,000 to the value of the property but having it for auction … it could possibly fetch a great deal more — then that’s a different situation … It’s a great shame — it’s not just about the painting on the wall … There’s a social comment there about resources.”

The building was left with a gaping, post-Banksy hole.
The building was left with a gaping hole.
Crispin Hook/SWNS

Brandon Eames, who lives in the area, called the removal “disrespectful.” 

“Now [probably] being shipped off to sell at public auction … This is terrible. Why spend the money to protect it, then just take it away?” he commented, according to the Daily Mail.

The Banksy mural apparently had significantly raised the structure’s perceived value: The shop was previously listed on the market for $402,000 but was taken off the market and re-listed for $671,000 after Banksy confirmed he was behind the graffiti on its side.

banksy crowbar removed from wall
A woman takes a photograph of the Banksy mural before it was removed from the wall.
Justin Tallis/AFP via Getty Images

This isn’t the only instance of a Banksy work the heave-ho. Last week it was revealed that actor Christopher Walken apparently painted over a one-of-a-kind installation by the artist while filming the series “The Outlaws.” And just last month Banksy’s “Love is in the Bin” — a painting shockingly shredded by the artist himself — was auctioned off for an equally shocking $25.4 million at Sotheby’s London.

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