Auction house urged to #bringbackBanksy

Publication date: Wednesday 20 February 2013

Haringey Council has called on a US auction house to stop or postpone the sale of a Banksy mural taken from the borough – and is urging art lovers to follow suit.

The ‘Slave Labour’ artwork, which appeared on a wall at the corner of Whymark Avenue and Wood Green High Road in May 2012, was removed last weekend and is due to go under the hammer for up to $700,000 in Miami, Florida, on Saturday.

The council is leading a bid to bring back Banksy to Haringey after the proposed sale disgusted local residents and provoked international media coverage.

A letter from the council has already been sent to Fine Art Auctions Miami, and local residents are now being encouraged to make their feelings known to the auction house.

Haringey Council Leader Claire Kober said:

“Our community believes that this artwork was given as a gift to the people of our borough and should not be auctioned off to the highest bidder for huge profit.

“We have asked the owner of the auction house to stop the sale so we can find out how and why this unique Banksy piece was taken and if it is being auctioned appropriately.

“There is huge opposition to private sale of this artwork and we want local residents, art lovers, and Banksy fans to write to the auction house as well to show them how strongly the community feels about this.”

Cllr Alan Strickland, Wood Green ward councillor and Haringey’s Cabinet Member for Economic Development, said:

“Our residents have made it clear to me how angry and disappointed they are that this mural has been removed from the heart of their community.

“The Banksy had become a well known local landmark and a truly unique feature of Wood Green High Road, and we are determined to see it back where it belongs.”

Supporters who want to #bringbackBanksy can copy the text of the council’s open letter to Fine Art Auctions Miami (see below) and send it to

Cllr Kober has also written to the Mayor of Miami, Tomás Regalado, to ask him to use whatever powers he has to stop the sale.

Further information is available is available at Haringey Council’s website and on the campaign’s Facebook page: (external link)

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Open letter to Fine Art Auctions

Frederic Thut
Fine Art Auctions Miami

346 NW 29th Street
Miami, Florida 33127

An open letter from the people of Haringey, north London

Dear Mr Thut,

At the weekend, you listed on the home page of your website a piece of street art by the world-famous Banksy for auction this Saturday with an estimated value of up to $700,000.

We appreciate your enthusiasm for this unique work of art, but we urge you to understand the even greater esteem in which it is held by the local community here in Haringey.

Since the mural appeared in our neighbourhood last year, it has become a much-loved local landmark and people have visited from all over London, the UK and the world to see it.

When the people of Haringey realised the mural had been taken from them this week, they were angry and disgusted that someone could try to make money from a piece of community art.

We understand that there may be nothing illegal in the way this artwork was quietly removed from our streets and put up for auction by you in Miami.

But for you to allow it to be sold for huge profit in this way would be morally wrong, and completely contrary to the spirit in which we believe it was given to our community.

We understand you have already heard from Haringey Council and responded, but we need to express the strength of feeling in our community.

We urge you to abandon the sale and return this important piece of art to Haringey, where it belongs.

Please, bring back our Banksy.

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