Margate Banksy Valentine's Day Mascara artwork to be moved to Dreamland theme park

  • Watch report from ITV Meridian's Joe Coshan

The Margate Banksy has been dubbed "the most talked about piece of art in the world" right now, with its famous fly-tipped freezer, and it will soon have a new home.

ITV News Meridian can exclusively reveal the Valentine’s Day Mascara mural will be staying in Margate for the foreseeable future at Dreamland.

The oldest-surviving theme park in Britain has agreed a deal for the world-famous artwork, with the London-based Red Eight Gallery, who are working on behalf of the owner of the property in Park Place, to move the Banksy 300 yards across town.

Dreamland CEO Eddie Kemsley told ITV Meridian: "The arrival of Banksy's latest artwork in Margate has caused a real stir!

"Everyone in the town is really excited that he has chosen Margate as the location for his latest work, and the fact that he is highlighting such an important issue only makes it more important.

The Valentine’s Day Mascara mural will be moved to Dreamland in Margate.

"Imagine our surprise when here at Dreamland we got a call asking if we would be able to host the artwork.

"We jumped at the chance to help ensure the piece could remain accessible and within the community.

"All the details are still being worked out, but we will work closely with the team of qualified experts to find a suitable location at Dreamland, where the public can enjoy this brilliant new addition to the Margate art scene.

"At Dreamland we are in a perfect position to support as the park is free to enter which means that during opening hours, the artwork will be accessible to anyone that wants to come and enjoy it.

  • Dreamland CEO Eddie Kemsley told ITV Meridian they were delighted to be able to help spread an important message.

"We understand that the current owner of the artwork is keen to raise money to help the amazing local charity, Oasis, which supports those that have been affected by domestic abuse, which Dreamland is 100% behind.

"We will assist the owner of the artwork and Red Eight Gallery on the logistics of how, when and where the piece will be moved and when everything has been finalised, further details will be announced."

After its current location was deemed unsuitable, there were fears from locals the Banksy would be removed from the seaside town.

  • ITV Meridian's Matt Teale speaks to Julian Usher, CEO of Red Eight Gallery which is storing the freezer

Julian Usher, CEO of Red Eight Gallery, was called in by the homeowner, to handle the safe removal and preservation of the artwork whilst looking for a new permanent home for it.

"I would say it's the world's most recognised piece of art today," Julian said.

"It obviously pens a very serious message - domestic abuse affects families across the world so the more light that can be thrown on the issue the better.

"Our role in this process allows us to contribute to a meaningful cause and promote a powerful message for the people of Margate and beyond."

The gallery has spent thousands of pounds already employing security guards to protect the piece of art around the clock.

And a custom-fit Perspex screen was made and installed to protect the graffiti from vandals.

Security guards were hired in by the owner of the property to protect the Margate Banksy from vandals. Credit: ITV Meridian

The full mural was given a top valuation of £2 million by one art collector, but without the chest freezer, the artwork was deemed worthless.

"Banksy has incorporated the freezer into the composition of the piece," Julian added.

"If you take the freezer away, it doesn't quite make sense, so the freezer is an integral part of it, hence the importance of getting the freezer back.

"That's why we took it into storage as we didn't want it to go missing again."

Thanet District Council came under fire for abruptly removing the kitchen appliance on health and safety grounds as it was on public land, just hours after Banksy confirmed the artwork was his on Tuesday.

  • Watch: Joe Coshan reports from Margate as the freezer was removed from the artwork by Thanet District Council

A Thanet District Council spokesperson told ITV Meridian: “It was necessary to carry out works to the freezer for health and safety reasons.

"This included decommissioning the freezer to remove the gas and also ensuring that members of the public could not become trapped inside it.”

After the council returned the freezer to its original position on Wednesday, a team from the gallery took it away and placed it into storage at a secret location.

A piece of artwork that will quite simply save lives

The mural shows a 1950s bruised housewife with a swollen eye. Credit: ITV Meridian

Banksy’s unveiling of his latest artwork, Valentine’s Day Mascara, was hailed by domestic abuse charities, for highlighting the problem on a day when love and happy relationships are glamorised.

With news of its unveiling stretching around the world, women's charities say every time the mural is shown it shines a spotlight on violence against women and girls and ignites a conversation.

The graffiti caricature shows the 1950s bruised housewife with a swollen eye, who has seemingly disposed of her abusive partner, with his legs hanging out of the freezer.

While working with the owner of the property, Julian says she expressed she wanted a local charity supporting the prevention of domestic abuse against women to benefit along with the piece being used to raise awareness in the seaside town and beyond.

A significant six-figure sum from the sale of the artwork will be donated to Margate-based Oasis, which has helped to support people affected by abuse for the last 25 years.

  • Deb Cartwright, CEO of Margate-based domestic abuse charity Oasis

Deb Cartwright, CEO of the charity, told ITV Meridian: “This artwork is incredibly important, and we need awareness to always be raised about this issue.

"We need to keep it on the agenda and keep people talking about it.

"It's also important that we keep talking about the issue of violence against women and girls.

"We really appreciate the themes of this message. We know there is a level of controversy surrounding it, but I get up every day and think about how we are going to keep delivering all of our services.

"So when we know we will be getting income coming in from kind beneficiaries then we're not going to argue with that because there are families out there and children out there who need our help and anyone who benefits from our safety planning is possibly a life saved."

If you are in need of support you can contact the Oasis charity helpline.

Call Oasis's helpline 0800 917 9948

In an emergency call 999

For 24/7 advice call the free National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0800 2000 247

Dreamland’s decision to host the Banksy has been hailed as a clever investment for the town’s economy. Credit: ITV Meridian

Securing the local long-term future of Banksy’s Valentine’s Day art is expected to be worth millions of pounds to the seaside town’s economy, according to one art collector.

South-Essex-based Banksy expert John Brandler told ITV Meridian: “Keeping the Banksy in the town is worth more than the artwork is worth itself.

“Banksy has fans from around the world, if they all turn up in Margate to see it, you would hope they will be spending money in the town too.

“Say 100,000 people come to Margate in a year and they spend a tenner on a few hot drinks and a bun - that’s £1million spent in the town’s shops right there and that’s a really low estimate of its pull.”

Dreamland’s decision to host the Banksy has been hailed as a clever investment for the town’s economy by art experts.

Last year the amusement park was used as a film set for Sam Fender’s Empire of Light starring Olivia Colman and pre-covid a record 700,000 people visited the venue in 2019.

The Turner Contemporary in Margate said it had 'no plans' to buy the mural. Credit: ITV Meridian

Dreamland’s acquisition of the Banksy came as a surprise to locals and collectors, who assumed the nearby Turner Contemporary art gallery would be chomping at the bit to welcome a piece of the worldwide artist’s work.

Julian says they reached out to the Turner but they told him they had no plans to buy the mural.

What about the tenants who live there?

Thousands of people have stared at the wall of 28 Park Place in Margate this week.

A singer recorded her music video in front of it and an artist travelled four hours from Bath just to paint people looking at it.

Behind that wall is a family trying to carry on their lives with the world’s eyes on their home - Hungarian nurse Polla and her young son Oliver have lived there for 5 years.

The latest Banksy creation has drawn crowds from across the country with people posing for photos. Credit: ITV Meridian

When Polla woke up on Monday morning to the fly-tipped freezer outside and graffiti on her wall, before it was confirmed as a Banksy, she was worried her landlady would blame her and she’d have to fork out to remove it.

She described the last 48 hours as 'extremely stressful' for them.

Especially when she learnt from the gallery that the 4-tonne wall of her home was going to be removed to preserve a piece of art - which she knows won’t be a quiet or quick job.

After ITV Meridian relayed her concerns to Mr Usher, Polla was reassured they will be able to stay in their home and will be compensated for the inconvenience.

They will also organise alternative accommodation for them to live in while the artwork is removed and the gallery is going to pay for them to go on holiday.

The safe removal of the mural is expected to cost somewhere in the region of £60,000 - £100,000. Credit: ITV Meridian

Removing graffiti on a four-tonne wall to reunite it with the 'most expensive piece of fly-tipping'

Julian says the gallery are working with civil engineers and building contractors to ensure the safe removal of the graffiti mural.

The work is expected to cost somewhere in the region of £60,000 - £100,000.

Fortunately, it’s only moving 300 yards away, but it’ll be a mammoth task to move it according to Julian, especially securing it on a flatbed truck and transporting it out of Park Place, a narrow-single track road near Margate Fire Station.

It’s not expected to be moved for some time yet. Dreamland is still undergoing its winter maintenance, but it’s hoped the mural will be in place for its grand reopening on Saturday 1 April.

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