Banksy mural worth £6 million lifted into new London exhibition by crane

An artwork by the graffiti artist Banksy has been hoisted by a crane into a new exhibition in central London.

The 3.8-tonne mural, called Valentine’s Day Mascara, briefly “dangled” above Regent Street before being placed in the foyer of The Art of Banksy exhibition on Tuesday morning.

The £6 million work first appeared on the side of a house in Margate on Valentine’s Day.

It depicts a 1950s homemaker with a swollen eye and missing tooth, wearing an apron and yellow washing-up gloves, and throwing a man into a freezer.

The real-life freezer used to complement the mural was removed twice in the days after the work was painted, leading to the decision to move the piece to somewhere less accessible.

It was later moved to the seaside town’s Dreamland amusement park for public display.

In August it was announced that the work would be for sale to the public through 27,000 shares priced at £120 each, which were made available on marketplace Showpiece.

Art of Banksy curator Michel Boersma said: “We’ve been secretly planning this operation for months but it was still an extremely tense moment having such an important and valuable artwork dangling from a crane above Regent Street.

“We are, of course, delighted to have it in the exhibition and are offering the public the chance to see it for free as it was created, as a street piece.

Banksy collection – in pictures

“It’s a work that casts a light on domestic abuse and as such, we are working with several domestic violence support charities and raising funds through donations.”

The Art of Banksy exhibition, which is not curated or authorised by the artist, is donating a share of its merchandise sales to several independent charities focused on refugee support, Ukrainian relief and female empowerment.

The show will feature more than 150 works, including Banksy’s Mona Lisa, a signed but previously unknown work which was originally bought directly from the artist by a Hollywood A-list actor in 2003.

Another addition to the collection is the original Flower Thrower, created by Banksy as a Valentine’s Day gift for his girlfriend at the time, six years before the artist officially made Love is in the Air.

Tickets for the full exhibition start from £17.50, with doors opening on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, a change to the famed cone on the head of a statue of the Duke of Wellington in Glasgow, located a few feet from the entrance to a gallery that hosted Banksy’s Cut And Run exhibition, was not made by the artist, it has been reported.

The statue of the 19th century politician and military commander riding a horse has – for the last four decades – had an orange traffic cone adorning its head.

Banksy has described the cone it as his favourite artwork and part of the reason he decided to hold his first solo exhibition in the city.

The Duke of Wellington statue outside the Gallery of Modern Art in Glasgow, which has been adorned with a new traffic cone - with a black stripe and a propeller on top. PA

However, a new cone has since been placed on the statue, this time with a propeller on top and a black stripe at the base, while a regular traffic cone appears to have been placed under the arm of the duke.

The change was reportedly not made by the artist, leaving the identity of the perpetrator unknown.

Updated: September 12, 2023, 11:11 AM

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