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The City of Hull Gets a New Banksy Mural - And Is Now on a Quest to Save it

  • Banksy in Hull
January 30, 2018
A philosophy graduate interested in theory, politics and art. Alias of Jelena Martinović.

A new stencil turned up in the city of Hull, and it was the work of none other than Banksy. Painted on a disused, permanently raised bridge, the piece depicts a boy sitting on top of a graffiti and holding a wooden sword in the air with a pencil attached to its end, all accompanied by the words “Draw the raised bridge!”.

On Saturday, the stencil’s authorship was confirmed by Banksy himself who posted a photograph of it on his official Instagram profile.

The controversies surrounding this stencil started with the local councilor John Abbot calling for it to be removed, as it could not compare with “real art” in the city’s Ferens Art Gallery. Soon after, the piece was vandalized on two occasions – someone’s tag was sprayed on the boy’s foot, shortly before the body was completely covered in white paint.

However, a swift reaction from a local window cleaner saved the day.

A post shared by Banksy (@banksy) on

The Public Outrage

As soon as the work was confirmed by Banksy, it drew large crowds to an industrial area in the 2017 City of Culture. However, as the stencil was painted over within 48 hours, the excitement turned to outrage, resulting in a furious reaction online.

Angry at their officials for not acting sooner to protect the piece, many local residents expressed their sentiments on their community Facebook page, One Hull of a City.

One of the residents wrote: “I am absolutely livid with Hull city council for not protecting the Banksy mural. City of Culture, pfffft.”[1]

On Sunday night, however, the local window cleaner Jason Fanthorpe accompanied by other residents took matters into their own hands to save the piece. Soon he was proclaimed hero.

A post shared by Ryan Carter (@ryanjcart) on

Jason Fanthorpe Hailed a Hero

As Jason Fanthorpe explained to BBC Radio Humberside, he was just about to go to bed when he received the news about the defaced stencil, which someone said was still wet. Not being able to “just sit back and not try to help”, he reacted immediately, as he already had the necessary equipment and the ladder loaded into his van.

After trying to get the paint off with water first, careful not to destroy it, he eventually used white spirit. As he pointed out, a number of people also turned up overnight to help with the cleaning.

He added:

It’s a faded Banksy now, but it’s better than a silver blob. There was a lot of talk on the One Hull Of A City Facebook group about the reputation of the city being dragged down, but it’s not right to tarnish the entire city because of the actions of a few.

A post shared by Cian McGuire (@beardycian) on

Banksy Mural in Hull Protected

On Monday, the piece was covered with acrylic sheeting to prevent further damage before coming up with a permanent plan to protect it. “This temporary measure will help to ensure that the public can continue to enjoy the work,” a spokesperson said.[2]

The stencil continues to bring joy to local residents, but also those living a bit further. As staff at the nearby Whalebone pub stated, there were a lot of people coming to Hull from Bristol and Manchester specifically to see the artwork.

References:

  1. Halliday, J. (2018), Banksy mural rescued by Hull window cleaner. The Guardian
  2. Anonymous (2018), Hull window cleaner saves defaced Banksy mural. BBC News

Featured image: Banksy in Hull, via feedyeti.com, used for illustrative purposes only.