Friday, 1 May 2020

Dover's Disappearing Banksy Brexit Mural, Kent, UK

In early May of 2017, the Banksy Brexit artwork appeared on the gable end of the former King's Arms Library building, originally of 1-2 Snargate Street but now, because of the A20 redevelopment,  probably a Bench Street address.

The Guardian: "The artwork emerged overnight on the Castle Amusements building."

A second post (linked to from here)  will explain why this location was a perfect choice for Banksy.

It will also give a brief history of the 1826 Georgian building (including a wood engraving of it by the noted George Wilmot Bonner) and why it is of more interest than its last use as an arcade would suggest.

In August of 2019, the anti-Brexit mural was covered with white paint in what many people saw as an act of vandalism:


Banksy's Dover artwork appeared in 2017 and was painted over in 2019. The Fine Art Restoration Company say the damage is reversible. Mural appears on former King's Arms Library building built by William Batcheller. Georgian architecture of 1826.


This has thrown Banksy's future plans for his Dover artwork into complete disarray.

On the day that Brexit took place, Banksy had intended to cover up the existing European flag and replace it with a crumpled version lying on the ground.

Here is the computer-generated image of the planned revision that he posted on Instagram:




There are many excellent photographs of Banksy's Brexit mural on the internet but this is how I experienced seeing it, backlit against an eastern sky whenever I went for an early morning cycle ride:

A 2018 photo of the Banksy Brexit Mural on the gable end of the former King's Arms Library. York Street in foreground, Snargate Street behind as is the A20 Townwall Street that carries on in front of the building to the Eastern Docks.
5.58 am, 18th of August, 2018

The "Banksy Brexit mural" depicts a workman with a mallet and chisel removing one of the twelve stars from a European flag that collectively represent "the ideals of unity, solidarity and harmony among the peoples of Europe."

The star, of course, represents the United Kingdom and its departure from the European Union.

A close-up of the workman shows that his actions are causing faint cracks to radiate from the offending star into the rest of the flag.

They symbolize the potentially permanent "cracks" that will remain within the European Union - and perhaps even widen - now that the UK has left:


Close-up of the Banksy Brexit mural showing cracks emanating from the star being removed, symbolizing that cracks will remain within the European Union, even after the United Kingdom has gone. 1826 Georgian former King's Arms Library building.


This final photograph shows how the building and Banksy's Brexit mural look now that it has been painted over. It was taken during a permitted Covid-19 lockdown bike ride:


11.58 am, 28th of April, 2020

 Banksy's reaction to the defacement was to say:

 Oh.

I had planned that on the day of Brexit I was going to change the piece in Dover to this (ie the computer generated image shown above).

But seems they’ve painted over it.

Nevermind. I guess a big white flag says it just as well.

There is a possibility that the story of the Dover Brexit mural might not be over:

The BBC News article, Brexit Bansky: Whitewashed Dover mural 'could be saved', states that the Fine Art Restoration Company has said the harm done to the artwork was "certainly reversible".

From Banksy:

"Banksy is an anonymous England-based street artist, vandal, political activist, and film director, active since the 1990s.

His satirical street art and subversive epigrams combine dark humour with graffiti executed in a distinctive stenciling technique.

His works of political and social commentary have been featured on streets, walls, and bridges of cities throughout the world."

Coronavirus cycling: route map and biometrics are on this Polar Flow web page.

Abbreviated versions of this post are on Facebook and Twitter.
 

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