Photo Courtesy of Banksy OfficialWhere art and commerce meet is a tricky intersection, especially when putting a price on street art which espouses social and political theory. Banksy, a British artist whose work speaks of these issues, is usually very elusive, but we would like to hear his opinion regarding an upcoming auction of one of his wall murals.
According to NY Daily News, a stencil of a young boy on his knees sewing a Union Jack banner was originally placed by the artist on a Poundland wall in London. The store underwent renovation and when the scaffolding came down, there was a huge hole where the art once was. Conveniently, Miami's Fine Art Auctions is now putting “Slave Labor (Bunting Boy)” up for bid on February 23 where it is predicted to sell for $500,000 to $700,000. Poundland, a store that sells everything for one pound, claims no responsibility in the affair, and the auction house says the lot came from a "well-known collector", following all rules and regulations. However, London residents do not quite agree and have begun an email campaign in order to discourage the sale.
The auction should prove interesting partly due to the issues surrounding Banksy’s pieces and his delivery of them. Known for being a recluse, he tends not to grant many interviews, never gives face-time, and his work can be controversial. In the past Banksy has spoken to his embarrassment when his canvases fetch top dollar at auction, so it seems like he'd definitely have something to say about the removal of “Slave Labor". While street art belongs to the community at large, part of its beauty is that you can never count on permanence, so this international sale is surely bringing up some pretty important questions regarding ownership.