Call it “Street Art” or “Graffiti” or “Vandalism”- some people see it as private property vandalism, and technically, they might sometimes have a case – street art is by design one of the most accessible creative expressions available to the wider public. It is colourful, vibrant, sometimes emotional and diverse… and it is free for everybody to watch, admire or object to. It gets people’s attention and brings them to consider alternative ways of expression. For good or bad, it is part of our daily life.
Street Art is also more than art. In Argentina in the 50s and 60s, it was used as a form of political expression, groups being paid to paint slogans promoting political parties. Late 70s and in the 80s, it became the only way of expressing political dissent in a country where freedom of speech virtually disappeared overnight. Street art also became a way to brighten the day of newly poor people and unemployed, through flashy colours and humour. The Banksy artwork has a social connotation to it.
Thus, I can see a certain irony here. The Banksy’s artwork was thought to target children labor, and indirectly greed and money. And yet, this artwork ended up being sneakily removed from a wall in a street and to be auctioned on another continent! It is priced at a staggering £320,000-452,000.
“The owner of Fine Art Auctions Miami, Frederic Thut, told the Sun it was being offered for sale by a well-known collector who he refused to name. He added: “The collector signed a contract saying everything was above board.”
It might be the case. But in my view, this person is simply saying: “I have signed a contract and I am not responsible!” In this day and age where art funding is being cut all over the place, removing free art from the street, from the public sight, and selling it for a profit, this is simply not right! Well, that is my humble opinion anyway! What do you think?