Street art by El Bocho. Lippmannstraße. Hamburg-Sternschanze, Germany. © Matt Lemon Photography. All Rights Reserved.
It’s not that long ago that I blogged another photo showing some of El Bocho’s artwork, but when I heard about the removal of Banksy’s latest mural in Clacton-on-Sea, I thought of this paste-up outside the Hamburg office of the Pirate Party, underneath the words Welcome Refugees.
Banksy’s mural showed five grey pigeons holding up signs stating “migrants not welcome”, “go back to Africa” and “keep off our worms” towards a colourful migratory swallow. Banksy created the mural in response to the looming by-election in Clacton-on-Sea, triggered by the decision of a local Conservative MP who defected to the UK Independence Party, which campaigns for tougher immigration laws.
Nigel Brown, communications manager for Tendring district council, said it had received a complaint on Tuesday that “offensive and racist remarks” had been painted on a seafront building. “The site was inspected by staff who agreed that it could be seen as offensive and it was removed this morning in line with our policy to remove this type of material within 48 hours,” he said. (Source: The Guardian)
I couldn’t say it better than Julia O’Connell Davidson, Professor of Sociology at the University of Nottingham, who hit the nail on the head when she commented: “Interesting that a mural satirising UKIP is deemed racist and offensive, whereas UKIP’s policy documents and promotional materials spelling out ‘migrants not welcome’ and ‘keep off our worms’ are not.” (Quoted with kind permission)
Funny side note: the above-mentioned communications manager also stated: “We would obviously welcome an appropriate Banksy original on any of our seafronts and would be delighted if he returned in the future.” It remains to be seen if Banksy will adjust his work to meet what Mr Brown considers as appropriate.
The removal of Banksy’s mural came only a day after Italy formally ended its year-long “Mare Nostrum” mission, during which its navy rescued over 100,000 shipwrecked refugees in the Mediterranean Sea, but were still unable to prevent the deaths of than 3,000 refugees in this year alone. Experts warn the death toll will multiply as Europe cuts back on its patrols of waters used by migrants. (Continue reading: Italy: end of ongoing sea rescue mission ‘puts thousands at risk’)