Banksy mural taken away by council then returned is removed AGAIN

Banksy’s vanishing act: Part of artist’s mural taken away by council then returned 24 hours later is removed AGAIN – as artwork is set to be cut out of building and installed in a gallery

  • The fridge, a vital part of the Banksy artwork, has been removed a second time 
  • Appliance is being held in storage ahead of the entire artwork being removed 
  • The piece is expected to find a new home at the Turner Gallery in Margate, Kent 
  • Homeowner donated piece and asked proceeds go to domestic abuse charity 

A crucial part of Banksy’s latest artwork in Margate has been removed for a second time, after the local council opted to return it after taking it away just hours after it was unveiled. 

Thanet Council became embroiled in a back-and-forth after the artwork appeared on the side of a building in Margate on February 13 before being confirmed as an original Banksy by the artist on Instagram on Valentine’s Day. 

But just hours after the elusive artist confirmed it was his handiwork, contractors from the council moved in to remove the fridge incorporated into the piece on health and safety grounds. 

After residents expressed their anger, however, the fridge was brought back, before being finally hauled away again today to be installed in a gallery. 

The work is to be cut away from the property in Margate, Kent, and could be displayed in the seaside town’s Turner Gallery or exhibited in London. 

After residents expressed their anger, however, the fridge was brought back, but it has now been removed again 

The fridge was returned to the site by the council after it was made safe

People have been turning up at the property in Margate to get a picture with the latest artwork from the elusive street artist 

The piece, titled Valentine’s Day mascara, features a 1950s housewife wearing a blue pinny and yellow washing up gloves. She also has a swollen eye and a missing tooth.

It also featured rubbish on the ground in front of it, including a broken white garden chair, a blue crate and an empty beer bottle. 

The fridge was a key element of the piece as it was used to show the woman pushing her partner, whose feet are depicted, into the chest freezer, while winking. 

When it was initially removed, some residents took the matter into the own hands, opting to put their own fridges in place of the removed appliance. 

The council later confirmed the fridge had been removed for health and safety reasons, later revealing it was because the appliance still contained gas. 

On Wednesday, the council returned the appliance to the mural where it remained until last night, when it was removed for a second time – this time by art handlers. 

London’s Right Eight Gallery contracted the handlers to take the fridge into storage ahead of the entire mural, which is thought to be aimed at raising awareness of domestic abuse, being moved to a gallery. 

It comes after the homeowner where the artwork is situated decided to donate the piece to a gallery, making it clear they want a local charity tackling domestic violence to benefit from it. 

Just hours after Banksy shared the artwork on his Instagram page, contractors moved in and carted away the freezer that formed a vital part of the piece.

People wearing hi-vis jackets in Margate, Kent moved in to remove the chest freezer hours after Banksy claimed the piece 

Video shared online shows two contractors removing parts of the physical aspects of the painting before stepping in to remove the freezer itself on Tuesday 

But on Wednesday, the fridge was returned to the site after the council made it safe for the public

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Plans are now underway to remove the work from the side of the terraced house to keep is safely preserved while a permanent home is found. The process is expected to take around four weeks. 

The homeowner, who currently rents out the property to a family, said: ‘We were not, in our wildest dreams, expecting this.

‘Without the support and quick actions of Red Eight Gallery we have no doubt the artwork would not still be intact. We’ll do our best to respect the major parties involved but our key focus is raising the awareness of domestic abuse against women.’

Julian Usher, CEO of Red Eight Gallery said: ‘Lots of people would have thought they just struck gold and looked to cash-in on the good fortune, but the owner wanted to make sure a local charity benefited.

‘They want it to remain in the area so that the people of the town will still be able to enjoy it and to also help attract more tourists to Margate. We’re in discussion with the Turner Contemporary as it seems like an ideal fit, and talks are going very well.

‘However, they have stipulated that they wish a local charity supporting prevention of violence against women to benefit, along with the piece being used to raise awareness in Margate and nationally.

A family pose with the remnants of the artist’s work, part of which has been covered by a protective screen, filling in the freezer with a wheelie-bin instead

A man drives to the scene and uses his car to fill in the gap for his photograph

Some people took to taking their own fridges down to the site to replace the one that had been removed 

Some even took to using other objects to enhance the painting, as shown in this image 

Monday 13th February 

 Locals in Margate, Kent spot that there has been an overnight addition to one of the properties on Grosvenor Place i

Tuesday 14th February 

Artist Banksy confirms that the piece is his handiwork on his Instagram page, encouraging people to flock to the seaside town to see it in person. 

Later that day, Thanet District Council contractors move in to remove the fridge, a key physical element of the piece, on health and safety grounds. 

Residents then opt to fill in the blanks of the piece with their own takes, including fridges and even a Mini car 

Wednesday 15th February 

Having been made safe for the public by the council, the fridge is returned to the site of the artwork, to the delight of residents and art lovers. 

Thursday 16th February 

The fridge is removed for a second time by contractors hired by London’s Red Eight Gallery to be kept in storage while the art is removed and preserved at the local Turner Gallery. It could also be exhibited in London at a future date. 

‘We want to make sure that the piece raises awareness of domestic abuse and violence against women – the message that the piece was created to send in the first place.

‘So we’re going to remove the piece from the wall because obviously it won’t be conducive for it to remain where it is currently. We are waiting to hear back from the Turner Gallery to see if they can display is for a time and we’d also like it to be exhibited in London.

‘The fridge freezer has been taken into storage for safe-keeping and we are now preparing the necessary steps to remove and preserve the picture.

‘It will take about a month to do so. The current tenants are happy to be rehomed for a few weeks, especially considering they’ve been dealing with crowds for the past few days.

‘The council have been very helpful in the process of making it safe. We will work with the council moving forward to get the part of the wall removed – it’s no small feat and there will have to be crane and flat-bed lorry.

‘It’s not an easy task at all. It will be a building site. But it will be worth it to see that this fantastic artwork is kept in the community.’  

But residents have been left furious about the council’s actions, with some suggesting contractors from the council drove by fly-tipped rubbish to remove elements of the street art.

To take the fridge away, a council truck drove right by a heap of rubbish including sand bags, electronics and furniture. 

Carole Laker, 68 who lives nearby, took it upon herself to add a sign to the rubbish in protest. The sign read: ‘This is not a Banksy, Thanet District Council feel free to remove.’ 

She said the decision to remove the fridge made no sense, adding: ‘I phone the council at 9am to ask if they were aware of the Banksy. They said no. 

‘I said perhaps they would like to clear all the rubbish nearby, as there would be a lot of people and media going there, and it wouldn’t show Margate in a good light. My thoughts were this would be an ideal time to get them to remove it after it had festered there for months.  

‘But then a truck turned up, removed the freezer and chair, and drove straight past the rubbish.

‘It’s so stupid that they can leave rubbish on our streets for months, but then you get a genuine artwork like this – which surely any sane person can see the freezer is an integral part of – and they dismantle it straight away.’

Thanet District Council said that although the artwork was on a private building, the fridge was on public land that fell under the authority’s jurisdiction.

Art lovers have flocked to the seaside town to see the elusive artists latest creation 

A protective sheet has been placed over the picture to preserve it before it is removed and shown in a local gallery 

The artwork is just a few metres from what appears to be a popular flytipping point in the town

‘We are aware that the graffiti artist known as Banksy has confirmed that the mural that has appeared recently in Margate is his,’ a spokesman said. 

‘The graffiti is situated on a wall of a privately-owned property.

‘A fridge-freezer which is believed to have been part of the installation has been removed by council operatives on the grounds of safety as it was on public land.

‘The fridge-freezer is now in storage and will be returned once it has been made safe to the public. We will be contacting the owner of the property to discuss the options to preserve the artwork for the district.’

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