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
People look at a section of wall where the Banksy mural was removed.   (AP Photo/John Stillwell/PA)

(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."

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Jun 5, 2013 4:19 PM CDT
I love Bansky! I hope he enjoys spending his million plus slowly! Wish he'd come to America and leave a few things for us to see. Wonder what he'd do for D.C.?
Jun 4, 2013 5:31 PM CDT
Messed up, man. The owner had the right, I won't dispute that, but he has got to be a pretty sad person to have looked at the work of a figure who very likely will go down in art history for pushing street art into the global consciousness and thought to himself, 'I'm going to take something that only has value as a free expression, stick it in a box, and see how much rich people will pay me for it.'
Jun 4, 2013 4:07 PM CDT
I can't wait until banksy paints a thousand more of the same painting all over the city