Many UK homeowners are horrified after the last two sections of Banksy’s seagull mural wall were removed. The mural—which pictured a flock of gulls flying in the sky with a slogan asking for the birds to be left in peace—was a reaction to coastal development plans. The wall was funded and supported by local residents, who now feel betrayed as they were not consulted about the removal.
The mural was part of an international series of works by Banksy, whose identity remains a closely guarded secret. Banksy’s works have been used to make pointed political and social statements about issues such as the environment and animal welfare. This particular piece was intended to raise awareness about the dangers of coastal building projects and the effect they have on local wildlife. Banksy has not publicly commented on the fate of the mural, but his website has been updated to call the removal “a real loss for the community”.
The removal of the mural has sparked a heated conversation on social media, with some criticizing the decision to destroy the artwork and others accusing Banksy of profiting off the situation. Local activists have also joined in the fray, with some suggesting that the mural should have been preserved and moved to another location as a show of respect for the local residents who spent time and money supporting the project.
Though many homeowners in the area had supported the mural, the wall itself was located on public land and had been subject to a dispute between different education institutions. This battle resulted in the High Court ruling that the wall must be removed on grounds of criminal damage. Despite this, the removal felt like an act of betrayal to members of the local community who had worked to create something beautiful.
It seems that the Banksy seagull mural will become a cautionary tale for homeowners. Residents should understand that public land is still subject to local laws, and artwork, no matter how beautiful, or meaningful, may be subject to removal. It is important to remember the importance of talking with authorities first before embarking on any kind of art project.