New Banksy artwork takes flight in London – less than an hour after being confirmed

Cyclist seen taking down traffic sign with image of three drones in Peckham, with artist reportedly not behind the removal

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Renowned street artist Banksy revealed a new artwork in south London featuring three drones on a traffic Stop sign on Friday – but the work was removed less than an hour after being confirmed as a genuine installation.

A man was seen taking down the sign at the intersection of Southampton Way and Commercial Way in Peckham at about 12.30pm. It is understood that Banksy was not behind the removal.

Alex, a 26-year-old witness, said he rushed to the site after seeing a post about the artwork.

There he saw a cyclist arrive and try to remove the sign by hand, but failing – falling off his bike in the process.

The man then returned with bolt cutters and succeeded in detaching the art piece, before leaving the scene.

“We said, ‘what are you doing?’ but no one really knew what to do, we sort of just watched it happen,” said Alex.

“We were all a bit bemused; there was some honking of car horns.

“He ripped it off and ran across the road and ran away. He said nothing. He didn’t seem to care that much about the art itself.

New Banksy artwork unveiled in London removed by two men

New Banksy artwork unveiled in London removed by two men

“There was someone else there, but I don’t know if they were together,” added Alex.

This latest creation adds, albeit briefly, to Banksy's ever-expanding urban gallery. The artwork was announced through a series of photographs on Banksy's official Instagram page. The artist chose not to accompany the images with captions or explanations.

Banksy's artistic journey in 2023

Banksy's creative endeavours throughout the years have been both prolific and impactful.

Among the notable works is Valentine’s Day Mascara, a mural that emerged on Valentine's Day on the side of a house in Margate, Kent, southern England. This piece, weighing a significant 3.8 tonnes, portrays a 1950s homemaker with a bruised eye and a missing tooth, engaging in the dramatic act of throwing a man into a chest freezer.

In September, the mural found a new home in the foyer of The Art of Banksy exhibition on Regent Street in central London.

World's largest Banksy collection to go on display in London – in pictures

This exhibition is open to the public free of charge and showcases a range of Banksy's iconic pieces, including Girl With Balloon, Flower Thrower and Rude Copper.

It also highlights significant projects like Dismaland, The Walled Off Hotel in Bethlehem and recent works that reflect on the conflict in Ukraine.

Glasgow's Gallery of Modern Art also hosted an exclusive exhibition entitled Cut & Run. It offered a retrospective look at 25 years of Banksy's stencil graffiti. Notable displays included authentic artefacts, ephemera and even the artist's toilet.

It also featured a model demonstrating the notorious shredding of Girl With Balloon at a Sotheby’s auction in 2018.

The Cut & Run exhibition's success sparked plans for a touring show. Organisers expressed a desire to take the exhibition on the road, although the next destination remains undecided.

Banksy's works in Ukraine – in pictures

Banksy's work often resonates with current societal and political issues.

In 2020, the artist incorporated themes related to the coronavirus pandemic into his art. One such instance involved spray paint in a London Underground carriage, which was subsequently removed by Transport for London due to its strict anti-graffiti policy.

Updated: December 22, 2023, 6:35 PM