Banksy Valentine's Day Mascara fridge mural unveiled at new location

Owner of house where artwork was painted wanted it on public display and to raise money for local domestic abuse charity

Banksy's Valentine's Day Mascara is on display at Dreamland Margate. PA
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One of Banksy’s artworks is going on public display for the first time since it was painted and swiftly removed from a town in south-east England.

The new home for his Valentine's Day Mascara mural is an amusement park 200 metres from where Banksy originally painted it on the exterior wall of a house.

The original homeowner wanted the art to stay local, be on public display and raise money for local domestic abuse charity Oasis.

Oasis chief executive Claire Williams said it was “quite humbling” for Banksy to shine a light on domestic abuse and they wanted to use this unique opportunity to tackle stigma.

“I think it will have a huge impact. It is a difficult subject to talk about and it doesn't naturally come up,” she said.

“When you are coming in here as a group of young people, or as a family, or individual, and you are looking at it, it does raise the question.

“It truly will spark and create conversations and this is only a positive thing.”

Around the installation, there are also Oasis donation bins and QR codes where people can donate via cards.

The piece, which appeared on Valentine's Day, depicts a 1950s homemaker with a swollen eye and missing tooth, wearing an apron and yellow washing-up gloves, and throwing a man into a freezer.

The real-life freezer used to complement the mural was removed twice in the days after the work was painted, leading to the decision to move the piece to a more accessible environment.

Eddie Kemsley, manager of amusement park Dreamland, said: “Dreamland is about fun, entertainment and escapism and having a great time. I don't think people will talk about that [the theme of the artwork] whilst they are here, but it will give them something to take away with and open up conversations at home.”

The piece was unveiled on Friday ahead of its public opening in the theme park's Roller Room from June 11.

Work to move Banksy's pop-up was a collaboration between Dreamland, Red Eight Gallery and Turner Contemporary with a team of engineers and an art conservator.

Red Eight Gallery boss Julian Usher said there were some “sleepless moments” in the removal of the mural from the side of a house. First the tenants, a mother and son, were moved out of the property before “builders stripped the house inside out”.

The real challenge, however, was moving it into the Dreamland Roller room. The team had to cut the wall down by a few millimetres to get the artwork through the doors.

The gallery, which is acting on behalf of the owner, is in final talks with a potential buyer for the piece, with an announcement expected soon.

Mr Usher said that for a Banksy piece, a buyer may have to pay between £1.5 million and £2 million.

Regardless of the sale, the piece will be in Margate for at least 12 months for the public to enjoy.

“I think it is an amazing piece of art,” Mr Usher said.

“It's really good to keep the integrity of the piece intact, keep the piece in Margate as long as possible, and to raise awareness around its message.”

Updated: June 09, 2023, 10:03 PM