Banksy in Westminster, 2011 ( photo Steve Cotton / artofthestate.co.uk )
If confirmed this is the first piece Banksy has put up in this area of Westminster sinceOne Nation Under CCTV was painted in nearby Newman Street back in 2008. That brings a new significance to the text whether intentional or not. Westminster council originally voted to remove that piece with Deputy Leader Robert Davis saying at the time “I take the view that this is graffiti and if you condone this then what is the difference between this and all the other graffiti you see scrawled across the city?”. So the question was would anything have changed this time around? With the increase in his fame would Banksy’s work still be declared illegal and a demand issued for it to be removed (proving the statement “if graffiti changed anything – it would be illegal”) or would it be allowed to stay proving that street art is now a form of protest about as threatening to the status quo as a Downing Street petition? Well we’ve got our answer now in a statement from Westminster Council given to West End Extra:
“Officers have inspected the graffiti and, as it is on property owned by the council, it will be removed.
“While some people in the community may like graffiti, there are others that rightly consider it a blight on the neighbourhoods.
“As a council, we can’t on the one hand crackdown on someone daubing a wall with a spray can, while letting famous names get away with it.”
Graffiti, not surprisingly, remains illegal in Westminster…but for now the piece is still there sweating under perspex.
Banksy One Nation under CCTV from 2008 ( photo: Steve Cotton / artofthestate.co.uk )