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Banksy graffiti 'should be protected'

  • Date: 26 August 2011
  • Area: National
image of children with a fishing rod stenciled onto a brick wall

Banksy work, located under the Oval Bridge in Camden Town, north London. Credit: Zak Hussein/PA Wire

An academic from the University of Bristol has argued that graffiti artist Banksy's work should be given more protection after one his illustrations was painted over after being mistaken for 'regular' graffiti.

While graffiti is considered to be nothing more than vandalism in some sections of society, Bristol has a different attitude towards the artform and Banksy's work has been embraced by many in the city, the rest of the UK and beyond.

Bristol hosted the UK's largest-ever permanent street art project at the weekend. Those taking part in major public arts project See No Evil transformed parts of the city centre with huge murals.

Now, a Bristol University study is questioning whether Banksy's work should be protected from being erased, which is what happened to his Gorilla in a Pink Mask piece in Eastville in July. The study, led by John Webster, a postgraduate law student at the university, said: 'There is clearly a strong interest in Banksy's work that appears to be celebrated in popular culture as an artist in his own right.

'It can be argued that his work, due to its political and social statements, carries a cultural significance in modern society. The public has indicated that this needs to be kept and by extension, preserved.

'An application for listing is one of these methods. The effect of listing would also ensure that the work could be preserved for future generations and grants could be applied for to preserve the work.'