Banksy’s latest artwork – which was created on London tubes and has an estimated worth of £7.5 million – has been accidentally removed by Transport for London cleaners who were unaware it was from the elusive artist.
Titled ‘You Don’t Mask, You Don’t Get’, the latest Banksy artwork is in response to the UK government’s recent guidelines to ensure people wear masks in indoors areas.
However, unaware that the graffiti was by Banksy, cleaners at TfL had removed the artwork by the time Banksy shared a video of him producing the artwork – which features his infamous stencilling of rats using masks as parachutes – in a hazmat suit and hi-vis vest.
A TfL source said: “It was treated like any other graffiti on the network.”
“The job of the cleaners is to make sure the network is clean, especially given the current climate.”
Co-founder of MyArtBroker Joey Syers has estimated the artwork’s value to be worth around £7.5 million, adding that its removal is a “a huge shame and an opportunity lost for Londoners”.
Speaking to The Metro, Syer said:“It’s a huge shame and an opportunity lost for Londoners that the latest Banksy work has already been removed by the anti-graffiti teams at TfL.
“Of course, we understand why, and we understand it’s highly likely whoever removed it was following procedure and had no idea they were destroying a Banksy.
“Had TfL management known, and had the opportunity to remove and protect the installation, we estimate its value as a complete package to be in the region of £7.5 million.
“It’s a shame the opportunity was missed to perhaps remove the carriage from the network and turn it into a tourist attraction for all Londoners and the world to enjoy.
“Sadiq Khan must be kicking himself, but Banksy has yet again proved his ability to entertain and make a statement with such daring and style.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Transport For London said: “We appreciate the sentiment of encouraging people to wear face coverings, which the vast majority of customers on our transport network are doing.
“In this particular case, the work was removed some days ago due to our strict anti-graffiti policy. We’d like to offer Banksy the chance to do a new version of his message for our customers in a suitable location.”
The spokesperson did not comment on the estimated value of the art, or whether or not staff knew the installation was by Banksy.
Check out the creation of the artwork below: