Banksy recently confirmed a new mural in Dover on his Instagram feed and it immediately created an internet frenzy. We popped by to have a closer look at the biggest unauthorised work by the elusive artist in the UK.
As usual with the artist, location and message are key. Dover being a strategic location as a ferry port in South East England, and first port of entry and link between the UK and Europe. The mural has been painted on a building of a disused amusement arcade, at a crossing junction between York Street and the A20,where all the lorries drive by to the ferry port, while a large derelict sign ‘Welcome to Dover’ greets trucks on their way in.
According to reports, Banksy created the work under cover of scaffolding. As the building is earmarked for demolition as part of a waterfront regeneration project, locals thought nothing of it. The three storey mural depicts a workman on a ladder chiselling one of the twelve stars of the European Flag, as a symbolic of the Brexit political process with the UK leaving the EU.
Attention to detail is remarquable, from the shading of the ladder and the stencilled lifesize workman, to the trompe l’oeil effects of the cracks in the European flag achieved by two layers of crisp lines, as well as the chips of the star falling off to the ground.
Since appearing on the day of the French presidential elections on 7 May, the mural has generated a great enthusiasm and pride from local residents and travellers curious to see it in person or photograph it, while a a few opportunists also started to chip some paint pieces from the ladder and scribble ‘The Clash’ on it.
When reality goes beyond fiction: with all the visitors, it appears that the council has instructed city workers to cut the grass around the unauthorised mural for a better photo opportunity ( cover photo), while CCTV and police are doing some random rounds to protect it from vandalism.
However there is also another sad twist: the owners of the building, the Godden Family, property developers in the Kent coast, are planning to sell the mural for £ 1 million (source: Telegraph) The Godden family said in a statement: “We can confirm that we are exploring options for the retention, removal or sale of the piece.” The family added that it “will look to benefit local charities with proceeds from any sale of the piece”.
Sad times indeed. So get there to see it in person while you can.
All images: © Butterfly Art News