“The finding was possible following investigations conducted by the district prosecutor in collaboration with the police and the French judiciary,” informed the district attorney of the Italian city of L’Aquila, Michele Renzo.
Created by Banksy on an emergency door at the Bataclan music hall, the white stencilled painting shows a veiled young girl in mourning. The anonymous artist designed the mural as a tribute to the ninety people who were killed at the venue in November 2015, when armed militants targeted an Eagles Of Death Metal concert.
This artwork was one of a series attributed to the English graffiti artist that appeared around Paris in June 2018.
Its sudden theft in January 2019 both shocked and enraged France. The Bataclan reacted to the disheartening news soon after, stating “today we are deeply indignant. Banksy’s work, a symbol of memory and belonging for everyone – locals, Parisians, citizens of the world – was stolen from us.”
Although CCTV footage captured a group of hooded figures using angle grinders to cut away the emergency door, officials were unable to track it down until recently. A year later the investigation eventually led to Italy, after spanning several European countries. Police uncovered the stolen mural inside an inconspicuous farmhouse in the Abruzzo region of the country.
According the Associated Press, a group of Chinese nationals who were living in the building were unaware of the hoarded piece. At a press conference last week in L’Aquila, Italy, it was also revealed that the police are still investigating the identity of the thieves.
“It belongs to the Bataclan,” announced Christophe Cengig, a liaison for the French embassy. “It belongs to all of France, in a sense.” Cengig explained that the venue owners “were thrilled, very happy” with the retrieval of their painting.