Banksy artwork display ‘should open up conversations on domestic abuse’
Artwork by Banksy set to go on public display in Margate will hopefully spark conversations among thousands of people on domestic abuse, organisers said.
The street mural titled Valentine’s Day Mascara was first discovered on the side of a house in the Kent seaside town, 200 metres (more than 650ft) down the road from its new home at Dreamland amusement park.
The piece was unveiled on Friday ahead of its public opening in the theme park’s Roller Room from June 11.
Dreamland boss Eddie Kemsley said: “Dreamland is about fun, entertainment and escapism and having a great time, I don’t think people will talk about that (the theme of the artwork) whilst they are here, but it will give them something to take away with and open up conversations at home.”
The piece that appeared on Valentine’s Day depicts a 1950s housewife 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 street mural had been removed twice in the days following the discovery of the artwork in February, leading to the decision to move the piece to an accessible environment.
It was the wish of the homeowner, however, for the artwork to stay local, be on public display for free while also raising money for Kent and Medway domestic abuse charity Oasis.
Chief executive of Oasis Claire Williams said it was “quite humbling” for Banksy, who uses his artwork as political commentary, to shine a light on domestic abuse and wants to use this unique opportunity to tackle stigma.
“I think it will have a huge impact. It is a difficult subject to talk about and it doesn’t naturally come up,” she said.
“When you are coming in here as a group of young people, or as a family, or individual, and you are looking at it, it does raise the question.
“It truly will spark and create conversations and this is only a positive thing.”
Work to move Banksy’s pop-up was collaborated between Dreamland, Red Eight Gallery and Turner Contemporary with a team of engineers and an art conservator.
Red Eight Gallery boss Julian Usher said there were some “sleepless moments” in the removal of the mural from the side of a house. First the tenants, a mother and son, were moved out of the Park Place property before “builders stripped the house inside out”.
The real challenge, however, was the access to the Dreamland Roller room. The team had to cut the wall down by a few millimetres to get it to the artwork through the doors.
The gallery, which is acting on behalf of the owner, is in final talks with a potential buyer for the piece with an announcement expected soon.
Mr Usher said that for a Banksy piece, a buyer may have to pay between £1.5 million and £2 million.
Regardless of the sale, the piece will be in Margate for at least 12 months for the public to enjoy.
“I think it is an amazing piece of art,” Mr Usher said.
“It’s really good to keep the integrity of the piece intact, keep the piece in Margate as long as possible, and to raise awareness around its message.”
Ms Kemsley added on Dreamland’s involvement: “It’s street art – Dreamland is kind of cool and quirky, and at the end of the day, who wouldn’t want a Banksy?
“It’s another reason to visit this great town regenerating through arts and culture.”Published: by Radio NewsHub