The British street artist Banksy has spoken out over Brexit for the first time since the UK voted to leave the European Union (EU) last June with a mural painted in the port town of Dover. But within 24 hours, the work of art, reportedly valued at £1m, was defaced with the words “the clash”, together with what appears to be an anarchist symbol.
The Banksy mural, which shows a man in overalls chiselling away at one of the stars on the EU flag, first appeared overnight on an amusement arcade building near the ferry terminal—the closest link to mainland Europe. The huge stencil also features on Banksy’s official website, confirming it as genuine.
More matter of fact than overtly political, the work nonetheless suggests a chipping away of the ideals of “unity, solidarity and harmony” that the 12 stars on the EU flag represent.
The graffiti comes at a time of increased tension in the UK over Brexit, with a snap general election on 8 June expected to determine how the UK will proceed with leaving the EU. The work was also revealed on Sunday morning, the day French citizens across the Channel went to the polls resulting in an emphatic win for president-elect Emmanuel Macron.
In the past, the candid artist has created works about the refugee crisis and the treatment of people fleeing war-torn countries, both in the main camp in Calais known as the jungle and outside the French embassy in London.