American artist Ron English has purchased an artwork by Banksy titled “Slave Labour” for £561,000 at an LA auction. He has now vowed to whitewash the street art that is painted on the side of a North London Poundland in protest.
The buyer has stated: “My idea for this painting is to whitewash it for my good pal Banksy, I only wish I could’ve spent more money for it. I’m going to paint it white again, I’m done. This is a blow for street art. It shouldn’t be bought and sold”.
“Slave Labour” depicts a young child on his knees by a sewing machine as he produces Union Jack bunting. The artwork was painted outside a bargain store in Wood Green in 2012 and is believed to protest against sweatshops used to manufacture souvenirs for London Olympics. It was removed from the wall after some months before resurfacing at an auction in Miami.
On Wednesday, the masterpiece has been sold again at Julien’s Auctions in Los Angeles. The buyer Ron English added to his statement that he plans to “sell the whitewashed piece for a million dollars. I’m crazy but I’m not stupid”.
The sale comes only a month after Banksy shredded his iconic “Girl With Balloon” painting, just after it was bought for more than $1 million at Sotheby’s.
The anonymous female buyer had stated: “When the hammer came down last week and the work was shredded, I was first shocked, but gradually I began to realise that I would end up with my own piece of art history”.