Banksy mural painted over in Calais

Banksy mural

Was it philistinism, or an unfortunate, but understandable, necessity?

That question is on many minds in Calais, where, as TheLocal.fr reports, a mural by the British street artist Banksy has been painted over.

Banksy has achieved international recognition and his works fetch a pretty penny on the art market.

The owner of the building said he needed to update the building because it looked “shabby.”

The mural in question – like the other two Banksy murals in Calais – takes migrants as its subject. It was an homage to Théodore Géricault’s “The Raft of the Medusa,” which depicts survivors of a wreck clinging to a raft.

Banksy’s mural depicts a raft adrift in the Mediterranean.

Calais was the location of a troubled refugee camp called the “Jungle.” Most residents of the Jungle hoped to enter the U.K.

The building’s owner, Georges Lagouge, said his building was in poor condition and parts of the mural had already been painted over. He also said that city officials had never responded to an inquiry he made about preserving the mural.

Selling it was also not an option: "To sell it I would have either have had to sell the whole building (made up of apartments and a pharmacy) or somehow cut out that section of the wall. It would have been too complicated." 

Banksy’s best-known Calais mural depicts Steve Jobs carrying a bag and early Apple computer as though he were a refugee. Jobs’ biological father migrated to the U.S. from Syria.

His other remaining mural depicts a child staring at the sea through a telescope. A vulture is perched on the telescope and is looking at the boy.

Banksy street art is prized and can significantly increase the price of a building.

However, Lagouge isn’t losing sleep over his decision.

"If they (local authorities) had wanted to look after it I would have been delighted. But they didn’t. I have no regrets, but if Banksy wants to come back and do another one on my wall, he’s more than welcome," he said to TheLocal.fr.

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