Banksy’s New Mural Has Already Been Defaced

The Islington borough has installed a protective fence and is adding surveillance cameras.

A Banksy mural defaced with white paint, on March 20, 2024, in London, England. Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images.

A new mural by the anonymous street artist Banksy has already been vandalized with white paint, just days after it appeared on the side of a residential building in north London.

The mural, which popped up over the weekend, has been surrounded by a protective metal fence and the Islington Council, the local government for the London borough, is in the process of installing closed-circuit surveillance cameras, the BBC first reported.

The mural consists mostly of green paint sprayed on a blank wall to mimic the leaves of a bare cherry tree standing on an adjacent small grassy plot. Underneath the “leaves,” the life-sized figure of a girl is pictured as if she had just painted the foliage.

“In recent days, the piece has created a real buzz in the borough and beyond, and we very much want it to stay,” a council spokesperson said in an email, confirming the work had been vandalized. “When the mural first arrived in Islington, we moved quickly to put in place temporary measures to protect it and manage the crowds, such as installing fencing and having visits from Park Patrol officers.”

Islington officials are in talks for further solutions with the homeowner “to enable everyone to enjoy the artwork,” the spokesperson said.

“This is a really powerful piece, which highlights the vital role that trees play in our communities and in tackling the climate emergency,” they said. “Culture is a powerful way to tell meaningful stories, and we very much hope that the piece, which is still fantastic, will now be left alone for people to enjoy.”

A splash of white paint against a green-painted wall

A Banksy mural defaced with white paint, on March 20, 2024, in London, England. Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images.


Artnet News has reached out to Banksy’s validation company Pest Control for more information but did not hear back by press time.

This is not the first time a work by Banksy has been defaced. Most recently, in 2021, two murals in the coastal towns of Norfolk and Suffolk were vandalized. The East Suffolk Council said at the time that local security patrols caught the vandal red-handed.

While Banksy’s works can often raise the value of a property, it can also come with negative attention or challenges for the property owner, including the burden of maintaining and preserving the work, increased foot traffic, and legal or insurance issued. Occasionally, works by the artist are removed for violating laws against graffiti or demolished along with the crumbling buildings they were painted on.

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.
Article topics