Banksy Graffiti Taken Off Wall, Sold For $1.1M

Critics say 'Slave Labour' belongs to the community

By Ruth Brown,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 3, 2013 6:34 PM CDT

(Newser) – A Banksy mural taken from a wall in north London was sold for over $1.1 million at a private auction last night. The piece, "Slave Labour," of a young boy sewing Union Jack flags, was sprayed onto the side of a store in 2012. It was removed in February this year, and was supposed to be sold off at an auction house in Miami, but was pulled from the auction at the last minute amid protests. But the sellers weren't fazed this time: the piece pulled in three bids over $1.1 million by champagne-sipping collectors at the members-only event, reports Bloomberg.

Legally, graffiti is the property of the owner of the building it is painted onto. But many street art fans claim the pieces are intended to be enjoyed by the public, and should remain the property of all. One British politician called for "Slave Labour" to be returned to its original location. "You have deprived a community of an asset that was given to us for free and greatly enhanced an area that needed it," she said, as per the BBC. "I call on you, and your consciences, to pull the piece from both potential sales and return it to its rightful place."

People look at a section of wall where the Banksy mural was removed.
People look at a section of wall where the Banksy mural was removed.   (AP Photo/John Stillwell/PA)
'Slave Labour' when it was still on the wall.
'Slave Labour' when it was still on the wall.   (AP Photo/Haringey Council)
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