First spotted by a visitor, a new piece of street art possibly created by Banksy has been found at Merrivale Model Village in Norfolk. The discovery follows a streak of potential Banksy artwork sightings across East Anglia this week.
On Sunday morning, a miniature model of a thatched stable mysteriously appeared in the village. It looked as though someone had vandalised the model, with “Go Big or Go Home” in red spray paint emblazoned on one of the walls. There is a small rat, a long-time favourite of Banksy’s, graffitied above a wooden wheel placed beside the building.
Merrivale Model Village reacted to the discovery on Facebook, writing: “we awoke this morning to a new addition to our village! … To have such a fantastic artist apparently choose to grace our tiny village with his street art is amazing!”
Owner of Merrivale, Frank Newsome, commented “I’m a layman but we’ve Googled it and it does look genuine, so we’re now trying to ascertain via the Banksy website whether it is or it isn’t.” This is not the first time Banksy has snuck his own pieces into existing attractions; in 2006, the anonymous street artist placed a doll dressed as a Guantanamo detainee in Disneyland, California.
Many other Banksy-style artworks have popped up across East Anglia in the same week. In Oulton Broad a new wall mural depicts three children standing in a small boat under the words “We’re all in the same boat.” Other artworks in Lowestoft show a child making sandcastle from a dug-up pavement by the Lowestoft Electrical shop and a giant seagull painted above a skip at North Beach. In Gorleston, several people were painted dancing on top of a bus shelter and an amusement arcade-style toy-grabbing crane was graffitied above a bench.
Banksy specialist, Professor Paul Gough, remarked “as always with Banksy, the context is crucial: he chooses his sites carefully, and these three are beautifully located.” He was “pretty sure” the works were by Banksy or at least “very good fakes“.
The sudden arrival of the artworks comes after Great Yarmouth, Gorleston and Lowestoft submitted a joint bid to become the next UK City of Culture in 2025. Whether or not Banksy supports the bid, according to Professor Gough the secretive artist “has clearly been enjoying an East Anglian staycation“.