The Mancunion

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It’s called street art for a reason

Uproar as yet another Banksy original is removed in Liverpool

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Uproar on the streets of Liverpool as yet another Banksy original has been removed from the city’s streets

Banksy’s Love Plane had become something of a masterpiece in Liverpool’s Rumford Place. That is, until it was cut out from its original site and replaced with a plaque re-directing disappointed admirers to a website explaining the mysterious disappearance.

The webpage reads: “The BANKSY LOVE PLANE artwork has been removed. With this building due to be refurbished, the piece has been salvaged and is now being restored under the management of The Sincura Group.”

The artwork will be returned to Liverpool looking better than ever to hang alongside other Banksy pieces at the Gallery at Berry House Baltic Triangle, due to launch in Liverpool shortly.

Courtesy of North Point Global Group, this will be the first ever street art museum anywhere in the world and will showcase to the public an extensive collection of original Banksy artworks painted as part of Liverpool’s Biennial art programme. With so many Banksy artworks disappearing from public view this will ensure your city preserves its street art heritage and showcases future talent.

“Liverpool, we thank you for your support and we are excited to be breaking new ground with you. We look forward to returning your piece to your wonderful city.”

The chairman of North Point Global Group, Peter McInnes claims to be moving various graffiti artwork “somewhere they can be enjoyed by the people of the city”. Because clearly art can only be truly appreciated inside a purpose built gallery, defeating the objective of street art.

And what’s even worse is: they didn’t even take the heart trail! They cut out the plane, and left half of the artwork. It is almost like cutting up Van Gogh’s famous Sunflowers painting, and leaving behind the vase.

This is not the first Banksy to be removed from the streets of Liverpool. A giant rat on the side of the historic White Horse pub on Berry Street was removed during the building’s renovation in 2014. The building is now a restaurant.

The building became grade II listed in 2004, shortly before the rat’s appearance in the same year. The painting was therefore not included in the listing.

The rat is believed to have been Banksy’s largest mural to date at 30ft high, covering two stories.

During its “successful” removal the artwork was separated into 30 pieces. It was later damaged in transit to London.

Liverpool is by no means the only city to have its street art stripped of its place. All over England there have been auctions following the removal of some of the artist’s most iconic works.

Street art is impulsive, spontaneous and unexpected. We should stumble upon works like the Love Plane and admire it where it lies. Streets are the world’s natural museums; holding traces of those who have passed through.

It should not be interfered with. If the weather fades it, it will become a part of history. But we are being forced to say goodbye to amazing murals. They should be protected.

That said, not everyone feels the same way. Street art has always had a certain stigma attached to it, with some people believing artists like Banksy to be vandals participating in anti-social behaviour which defaces our streets.

Legally, it is characterised as a problem to be dealt with through criminal law. Although, now that some artists’ works are being considered valuable, this could be set to change.

But how can we truly say that graffiti defaces our surroundings? Walking through Manchester’s Northern Quarter, is it fair to say that a huge part of the area’s appeal and charm is shaped by the street art surrounding you? Of course it is.

Which do you think is more offensive to see? A small graffiti fox, brightening up a disused building, or a great chunk cut out of the wall where it used to be?

Graffiti artists deserve to have their work lie where they left it; as they intended it.