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UK protest demands return of Banksy street mural on sale in Miami

Graffiti artworks thought to be Banksy's new work appears at the site of 'stolen' mural in Turnpike Lane New graffiti where Banksy mural was removed from wall in North London, Britain. REX FEATURES /London News Pictures

A mural by famed street artist Banksy is up for sale at a Miami auction house after the work, and a chunk of the North London wall it was spray-painted on, vanished late last week.

Who owns the mural is unclear, and how it ended up in a Miami auction house shortly after going missing is still a mystery.

“For us it raises some fundamental points about who’s responsible for street art and who morally owns it. And the community owns it and they feel that and that’s why they’re here today,” said a woman at a protest of Haringey residents outside the shop where the mural was located.

The mural was painted on a building occupied by Poundland Stores, a British retailer that sells various items for about $2. The work, titled “Banksy: Slave Labour,” shows a young boy kneeling at a sewing machine with Union Jack bunting.

It appeared in 2012 during Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee, celebrating her 60th year on the throne. The Poundland chain was a focal point of controversy in 2010  when it was alleged that it sold goods made by Indian children as young as seven.

“When this piece of street art appeared last May so many people were coming to see it from across London that the local tube staff had to put a special sign to direct Banksy tourists,” said Haringey councillor Alan Strickland.

Meanwhile, the work remains listed on the auction house’s website, where it has received three bids and is valued between $500,000 and $700,000. Described as a
“unique street work” of “stencil and spray paint on render with additional jubilee bunting,” it was due to be auctioned on Saturday.