Detectives are searching for a vandal who painted over a new Banksy artwork with white paint. Since it first appeared in Lowestoft one week ago, Banksy has confirmed the mural and ten others along the coast of East Anglia as works by his own hand.
Art-loving crowds have flocked to the sea wall mural that depicts Banksy’s famous rat enjoying a cocktail in a deckchair. It is part of a series entitled “A Great British Spraycation”, which takes inspiration from the derailed plans of thousands of holidaymakers due to coronavirus.
“We are naturally appalled that someone has chosen to damage one of the pieces of Banksy artwork in Lowestoft in such a selfish and mindless way,” commented East Suffolk Council on Twitter. “We are, however, hopeful that this particular work can be restored, and are engaging with specialists.”
The vandalism occurred at the weekend when an unidentified person completely covered the work by rolling white paint over the surface for unconfirmed reasons. Security guards interrupted the vandal at the scene, but they were unable to apprehend them.
“Police are appealing for witnesses to an incident of criminal damage in Lowestoft,” revealed Suffolk Police in a statement. More security guards have now been stationed at the mural, as well as the installation of protective glass, to prevent further damage.
East Suffolk Council added that “we are very grateful for the huge goodwill of local people who are proud of these artworks, but we would kindly ask people not to try and repair the works themselves and to please leave this to professional restorers.”
Over the last few weeks, a series of Banksy artworks have sprung up across East Anglia, causing much needed tourists to visit the seaside towns. Banksy’s new pieces include a miniature model of a stable spray-painted with Banksy’s name, a wall mural depicting three children in a boat under the words “We’re all in the same boat”, and a painting of a child making a sandcastle from a dug-up pavement.
The anonymous graffiti artist recently posted a video on his Instagram page of a hooded figure, presumably Banksy himself, visiting the area in an inconspicuous caravan. A version of “Dance Monkey” by Tones and I plays in the background as the mysterious person creates the artworks in plain sight of locals. In the video a bystander unwittingly comments “that looks like mindless vandalism, doesn’t it?”