Art And Culture

Banksy Mural Destroyed by Building Work

Bansky’s mural ‘Spy Booth’ before it was destroyedBansky’s mural ‘Spy Booth’ before it was destroyed

A $1.3 million mural by British street artist Banksy which mocked government surveillance has been destroyed during building works on the house on which it appeared in 2014, the local council said Monday.

The piece, titled “Spy Booth”, depicted three men in trench coats using listening devices to tap into conversations at an actual public telephone box in Cheltenham, southwest England, AFP reported.

It was located just five km from the UK government listening post GCHQ, which was the subject of a series of revelations by former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden.

The local council said the owner had confirmed the mural was damaged during urgent works on the end-of-terrace home, which was given protected status after the mural appeared overnight in April 2014.

“He was carrying out works to his property following an urgent works notice issued by the council to stop.”

The mural, valued at £1 million ($1.3 million) had become a tourist attraction but was damaged when fellow graffiti artists spray-painted silver and red on to the elusive artist’s design.

Alex Chalk, the Conservative MP for the town, described the destruction as “shocking news,” calling the work an “admired piece of Cheltenham’s artistic heritage”.

Banksy is renowned for his street artworks, which often use subversive or satirical imagery to tackle subjects such as war, capitalism, hypocrisy and greed. He also left an artwork on Israel’s controversial West Bank separation wall.

The artist’s identity remains shrouded in secrecy but he is believed to have started out as a graffiti artist in the southwestern city of Bristol.