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Banksy Weighs In on Lockdown

Coronavirus-themed artwork has since been removed from London train
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 15, 2020 7:21 AM CDT

(Newser) – New coronavirus-themed artwork from Banksy appeared on the London Underground before it was swiftly removed according to a "strict anti-graffiti policy." A video shared Tuesday on Banksy's social media channels shows a man posing as a professional cleaner aboard a Circle Line train, per the BBC. He waves off a commuter before stencilling numerous rats along the walls. One appears to be sneezing, another is trapped in a medical face mask, and a third holds a bottle of sanitizer. The man—in a full Tyvek-style suit, gloves, and mask—is also seen painting Banksy's tag in the color of a medical mask. At the end of the video, "I get lockdown" is shown on a platform wall before a train's doors close, revealing the words "but I get up again"—a nod to Chumbawamba's 1997 hit "Tubthumping," which then plays.

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Transport for London said the work—apparently titled "If You Don't Mask, You Don't Get"—was removed "some days ago" in line with its "strict anti-graffiti policy." Still, it said it appreciated the support of the requirement that everyone using public transport in London must wear a mask. "We'd like to offer Banksy the chance to do a new version of his message for our customers in a suitable location," it said. Banksy also unveiled an artwork honoring health care workers in May. "Game Changer," donated to the University Hospital Southampton in the UK, shows a child playing with a nurse doll featuring mask and cape. And in April, the artist originally from Bristol, England, revealed more of his stencilled rats, this time seen trashing his own bathroom in a lockdown scene, per CNN. (A stolen Banksy artwork was just recovered.)

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