St Valentine's Banksy finds new home at Dreamland

Amusement park in Margate will house the piece to make it 'accessible to all'

The artwork appears to portray a 1950s housewife with a swollen eye, apparently shutting a man in a freezer. AFP
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A Banksy artwork that was dismantled on safety grounds has found a new home inside a theme park.

The Valentine’s Day Mascara piece was created on a wall in Margate and will be relocated to the town’s Dreamland amusement park.

The piece has been partly dismantled twice since it first appeared, once by the local council and once by the owner of the wall Banksy used, so that it was not damaged while a home was found for it.

Both said they acted out of concern for the piece’s security, while the owner of the wall added that they wanted people to be able to view the artwork.

The mural appears to have a theme of domestic abuse, opposing violence against women.

It depicts a 1950s housewife wearing a blue pinafore and yellow washing-up gloves with a swollen eye and a missing tooth seemingly shoving her male partner into a chest freezer.

The real-life freezer incorporated into the piece was removed twice in the days after it was discovered in Margate, Kent, on Tuesday.

Margate’s Dreamland amusement park will now house the piece so it remains “accessible to all those who want to come and enjoy it”.

“We’re thrilled to have been asked to host Margate’s Banksy, enabling the artwork to remain in the town and accessible to all those who want to come and enjoy it for the foreseeable future,” the park said.

“When everything has been finalised we’ll let you all know.”

Dreamland chief executive Eddie Kemsley said: “The arrival of Banksy's latest artwork in Margate has caused a real stir.

“Everyone in the town is really excited that he has chosen Margate as the location for his latest work, and the fact that he is highlighting such an important issue only makes it more important.

“Imagine our surprise when here at Dreamland we got a call asking if we would be able to host the artwork. We jumped at the chance to help ensure that the piece could remain accessible and within the community.”

On Tuesday, the artwork had its freezer, broken garden chair, blue crate and empty bottle taken away by a local council “on the grounds of safety”.

All the pieces were subsequently returned by Thanet District Council, who on Wednesday said it had been in contact with the property owner to discuss ways to preserve the piece.

On Thursday, elements of the work were moved again, this time by the owners of the property on which the mural is painted, with the help of London's Red Eight Gallery, and put into storage for safekeeping.

The homeowners had called the gallery to request help in preserving the artwork.

Red Eight chief executive Julian Usher, said the homeowner was grateful for Banksy's gift and would do “everything possible” to promote the prevention of domestic abuse, honour the Margate community and preserve the artwork.

Updated: February 19, 2023, 8:29 AM