Transport for London (TfL) has confirmed that it has already removed the coronavirus-themed artworks painted onto one of its train carriages by Banksy.
Yesterday (July 14), just hours after the elusive artist shared a video of himself leaving the pieces on the London Underground, the transport network announced that the artworks were removed “some days ago due to our strict anti-graffiti policy”.
Banksy spray painted a number of rats – previously seen in his bathroom – across the walls of a train carriage, including one sneezing a blue liquid, two using masks as parachutes, and another doing its own graffiti (which says “Banksy”) while ‘hanging’ from the tube rails. The artist also left two notes, which read, “I get lockdown” and “But I get up again” – meant to be sung to the tune of Chumbawamba’s “Tubthumping”.
In a statement, TfL said it appreciated “the sentiment of encouraging people to wear face coverings” and would like “to offer Banksy the chance to do a new version of his message for our customers in a suitable location”.
Banksy, who shared the video of the artworks with the caption, “If you don’t mask – you don’t get”, hasn’t yet responded to TFL’s announcement.
The pieces followed a number of reactive artworks shared by Banksy on Instagram, including an anti-racism piece dedicated to the Black Lives Matter movement, and an NHS artwork, honouring those on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic.