Banksy Masterfully Snuck A Stable Into A Toy Village; Now It Could Reap Millions
By Mikelle Leow, 11 Jan 2022
Banksy: covert artist, stunt extraordinaire, and… village planner and architect?
While everyone spent last summer indoors, the mysterious street artist went on a “Great British Spraycation” and left his mark along the coast of Norfolk and Suffolk with 10 fresh artworks. There were large-scale murals abound, including one of a giant arcade claw grab, but also a miniature one emblazoned on a toy stable that Banksy had planted among faux buildings in the Merrivale Model Village in Great Yarmouth.
In addition to being tagged with the artist’s name, the tiny stable was ironically sprayed with the words “go big or go home.” It then remained in the model village for two days before a visitor brought it to the owners’ attention.
Now, auction experts estimate that this little piece of real estate could go for “up to a seven-figure sum” at a sale scheduled this month, the BBC reports. A valuer for auction house Anderson and Garland, which will be putting up the building at its Modern Art & Design Auction, believes it could fetch at least “around the high hundreds of thousands.”
To avoid detection, Banksy had cleverly enlisted a group of people to divert staffers’ attention so he could insert the stable into the toy village uninterrupted.
The establishment’s owners, Frank and Frances Newsome, detailed back in August that a party of guests had arrived refusing to be photographed for its ticket system. A lady from the group then approached an employee requesting “to see the model repair room,” sending that worker away.
“Then some other guys set up a drone and the staff asked them to take it down and they said they wouldn’t… that got the attention of everyone,” the pair recounted. “It was a diversion tactic, they hid in plain sight, but apparently that’s what Banksy does… He is so clever. He had everything planned to a tee.”
The premise’s owners were elated when Banksy confirmed to have been behind the work in a video. As they were forced to halt operations on several occasions due to the pandemic, the Banksy visit was “a lifesaver” and drew visitors to the site.
The Newsomes quickly safeguarded the piece by placing it in a protective box and tightening security in the area, as well as put it on show only at certain times of the day.
However, they believe they can only protect the stable so much, and wish to put it in safer hands by having it auctioned off. Filling in the empty space would be a replica of the Banksy art.
“We hope the sale will safeguard the future of the village,” say the owners.
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