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Anger, dismay and indifference as Tottenham says farewell to Banksy artwork

A broom rests against the last remaining piece of Banksy's work in situ before it was cut from the wall yesterday. Picture: CookeEstates A broom rests against the last remaining piece of Banksy's work in situ before it was cut from the wall yesterday. Picture: CookeEstates

Friday, July 26, 2013
6:12 PM

News of the removal of the Banksy artwork No Ball Games from the side of a Tottenham shop was met with a mix of frustration, understanding and indifference today.

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A trickle of water carrying brick dust is the only clue to the removal of the Banksy artwork No Ball Games.A trickle of water carrying brick dust is the only clue to the removal of the Banksy artwork No Ball Games.

Workers spent most of the day removing the third and final piece of the wall containing the mural, which took longer than expected as electrical wires had to be removed from the wall of the adjoining shop.

It is expected the final section will be removed and taken away at some point this evening. When sold at auction it could fetch a similar amount to the Slave Labour piece from Wood Green, which sold for a reported $750,000 in June.

Kezi Hussein, 23, who grew up in Tottenham and works at Munchbox cafe a couple of doors down, said: “Our customers are quite annoyed actually. I haven’t had anyone come in and say, ‘Thank god it’s gone’. We want it back.”

She added: “I think it’s quite nice that [Banksy] thought, ‘OK, I’m going to come to Tottenham and do this’. I don’t think they should take it. It belongs to Tottenham. If it was my building, I would feel privileged; I wouldn’t want to sell it.”

The iconic Banksy on the side of the shop in Tottenham as it was in 2009.The iconic Banksy on the side of the shop in Tottenham as it was in 2009.

Eddie Mehmet, a bus driver in his 30s, lives in White Hart Lane and passes the artwork every day on his way to work at the Arriva garage opposite, in Philip Lane.

He said: “I’m annoyed. It’s nice to have things like that here. I used to walk past the one in Wood Green as well.

“This one was nice but the one in Wood Green was nicer. It had a lot more meaning to it.”

He added: “That painting [in Tottenham] didn’t cost the owners anything, did it. They are cashing in something that didn’t belong to them. If they are donating all the money to charity that’s different.”

The  site of the Banksy mural covered in scaffolding and tarpaulin. Picture: Tony GayThe site of the Banksy mural covered in scaffolding and tarpaulin. Picture: Tony Gay

One of his colleagues quipped: “If I’d have known how much it was worth I would have gone and chiselled it off myself!”

Another said: “Ask how many people knew it was there. It is stuck around the corner so it’s not that easy to spot. [But] it wasn’t put there for commerical gain, was it. It’s a shame that that’s what’s happened to it.”

Mermer Kudaibergonova, who works at Tottenham News nearby, said: “Lots of kids come here in groups and ask, ‘Where is the Banksy? We have come to see the Banksy.’

“But I think if you asked them, 50 per cent [of the people living here] wouldn’t know that there’s a painting on that wall.

“But there are not that many positives in Tottenham, apart from the stadium. This is another one.”

She added that the owner of the building “didn’t know how valuable it was until they took the one in Wood Green”.

The owner of the property has been keeping a low profile, the shopkeeper at Alex BG Shop has declined to comment and all enquiries are being directed to The Sincura Group.

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