In brief

Banksy Gives Controversial Mobile Lovers Artwork to Bristol Youth Club

Banksy, Mobile Lovers

Banksy, Mobile Lovers (2014)

Banksy’s Mobile Lovers piece has been controversial since it first appeared on a piece of plywood blocking a doorway near the Broad Plain Boys’ Club in Bristol. The quick-witted club leader Dennis Stinchcombe removed it almost immediately, hoping to raise cash for his organization. But Bristol City Council stepped in, saying that, as the artwork was on its land, it should be kept in the museum.

Now the elusive street artist himself has come to the rescue of the boys’ club, the BBC reports. In a letter addressed to Stinchcombe, he says the club leader has his blessing to do whatever he “feels is right with the piece.”

“I’m a great admirer of the work done at the club and would be chuffed if this can help in some way,” Banksy continues. “Your tenacity in the past few weeks has made for an entertaining spectator sport.”

Banksy finishes the note with an Abraham Lincoln quote: “Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left behind by those who hustle.”

“I think as a young man (Banksy) went to Barton Hill youth club and probably came into my club several times at The Dings in St Phillips,” Stinchcombe told the BBC. 

The piece could fetch up to £4 million at auction, and the boys’ club leader said that if this was the case, other youth organizations in Bristol would also benefit from the windfall.

“This is a proper resolution,” said Bristol Mayor George Ferguson, who has been contacted by a Banksy representative. The representative confirmed the authenticity of the note. “We’ve done our job by looking after it and in the meantime we’ve collected a bit more for the boys’ club, and thousands of people in Bristol and farther afield have seen it.”

This is a rare instance of Banksy endorsing the removal of artworks from the public space. Recently, the artist spoke out against an auction of street art pieces organized by the group Stealing Banksy?, calling it “disgusting” in a statement published on his website.