Immigration-Themed Banksy Mural Destroyed by Local Council

The Banksy mural in Clacton-on-Sea, UK, before the local government painted over it in response to complaints that the immigration-themed piece was offensive. Photo: Banksy.

The local council in the British town of Clacton-on-Sea has inadvertently destroyed a new Banksy mural in response to complaints that the immigration-themed work was “offensive” and “racist,” reports the BBC. At the time, they were not aware of the piece’s provenance.

The work depicted five picketing pigeons perched, as if on a telephone wire, brandishing signs and banners reading “Go Back to Africa” and “Migrants Not Welcome” at a smaller, exotic-looking green bird. By the time Banksy claimed the street art on his website, the piece had been unceremoniously painted over by the Tendring District Council, which had received a complaint about it on Tuesday.

“The site was inspected by staff who agreed that it could be seen as offensive and it was removed this morning in line with our policy to remove this type of material within 48 hours,” council communications manager Nigel Brown told the BBC. “We would obviously welcome an appropriate Banksy original on any of our seafronts and would be delighted if he returned in the future.”

One of many Banksy works to make a political statement (see “Banksy-Backed #WithSyria Vigils Coming to Dozens of Cities” and “Banksy Confirms He Created “Spies” Artwork in Cheltenham“), the Clacton-on-Sea artwork is likely a commentary of the defection of Douglas Carswell, the town’s member of Parliament. He recently left the Conservative party for the more right-wing UK Independence Party, which favors reduced immigration and the deportation of illegal immigrants. In the upcoming special election, scheduled for October 9, Carswell will attempt to retain his seat in his new party.

Banksy’s spokesperson told the BBC that the anonymous street artist would not be commenting on the issue.

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