The latest Banksy artwork to appear lasted a mere two days before being defaced by locals, causing house owners to cover up the work.
The notoriously-unknown street artist confirmed this was, in fact, his work by posting it to his Instagram, with Bristol locals excited over the piece appearing in the street in Bristol.
The new Banksy work shows a young girl firing red flowers from a catapult and was perhaps a nod to Valentine’s Day, playing with themes of violence and innocence.
“We were just working round the corner and then someone was saying that there’s a new Banksy round the corner, so we’re just… bunking off work,” one local said, surrounded by others taking pictures of the art.
Kelly Woodruff, the daughter of homeowner Edwin Simons said her family has made the difficult decision to cover the artwork for now with the goal of protecting it.
“All measures are temporary and we ask that the public are patient while we work out the best way to clean the damage, restore and protect it for the future, so everyone can enjoy Banksy’s work,“ she said.
The preservation of Banksy’s works has been a longstanding issue, with a Welsh artwork recently having to be protected by metal fencing and closer to home in 2015, Melbourne builders smashing a hole through a piece to make pipes for a new cafe.
How would Banksy himself feel about the defacing of his work? Perhaps he would enjoy people’s responses and appreciate the community talking back to him in some way? Or maybe he’d rather people admire from afar. We’ll probably never know.