An immigration-themed mural attributed to the street artist Banksy was removed this week in the English coastal town of Clacton-on-Sea after accusations that the art was racist, according to published reports.
The work appeared to support immigrants and mock immigration opponents. The outdoor art depicted five pigeons holding anti-immigration signs (“Migrants not welcome,” “Keep off our worms”) while staring down a brightly colored swallow. Images of the mural have appeared on Banksy’s official website.
A report in the Guardian stated that on Tuesday, local officials received a complaint of “offensive and racist remarks” painted on a seafront building. The work of art was removed shortly thereafter.
The BBC News quoted Nigel Brown, communications manager for the local council, saying that the site in question “was inspected by staff who agreed that it could be seen as offensive” and that it was “in line with our policy to remove this type of material within 48 hours.”
He added: “We would obviously welcome an appropriate Banksy original on any of our seafronts and would be delighted if he returned in the future.”
Reports noted that a local by-election is scheduled take place in a week’s time.
Works by Banksy have often faced removal or destruction. The artist, whose identity has not been publicly revealed, often creates public works of art in stealth and usually without permission from property owners.