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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 21 January 2021

Mystery of missing Banksy artwork

Bicycle locked to lamppost was removed without warning

The original Banksy. Andrew Jackaman
The original Banksy. Andrew Jackaman

The battered bicycle that forms part of a Banksy artwork has been removed from where it was locked to a lamppost.

The bike – with only one wheel, which is buckled – was padlocked next to a mural of a girl hula-hooping with a bicycle tyre, together forming the artwork in Nottingham, central England.

Some locals at first thought the bicycle had been stolen but Nottingham City Council confirmed on Monday that it was removed by the owners of the wall upon which the mural is painted.

The local authority confirmed the bike was removed for safe-keeping.

Meanwhile, another bike has turned up in its place, installed by Kyle Myatt.

"I just did it to see people happier. Even if it's not been stolen, I'm still glad I replaced it as it looks like part of the Banksy," Mr Myatt said.

"And at least now if someone does nick it, the original is safe."

The mural was painted outside a beauty parlour in the city’s Rothesay Avenue.

Banksy spent the summer creating new art, including images of rats on the London Underground encouraging passengers to wear masks, and financing a boat to rescue refugees trying to reach Europe from North Africa.

The girl with tyre mural attracted crowds of viewers when it was first completed in October.

Local resident Tracy Jayne said the image of the pedal bicycle was an important reference to the city’s history and bike manufacturer, Raleigh.

"The artwork records an important part of Nottingham's history – Raleigh bikes," she said.

Nottingham City Council covered the design with plastic transparent sheeting, providing protection from vandals while still allowing it to be viewed.

“I feel like Banksy has given us a gift when we were at a low with increasing [Covid-19] infection rates,” said Louise Harrison, another resident.

Banksy's artwork is typically satirical and political in nature.

He started spray-painting trains in his home city of Bristol but as his work took off he travelled the world, painting streets, walls and bridges to deliver political messages.

The cult artist, whose identity remains anonymous, recently weighed in on the death of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter protests.

Here is a gallery of some of his work.

Updated: November 23, 2020 08:17 PM

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