Banksy’s coronavirus-themed artwork removed from London Underground carriage

The anonymous street art icon violated TfL's "strict anti-graffiti policy”

Banksy‘s latest artwork, which sends up the global spread of coronavirus, has been removed from the London Underground carriage it was left in by Transport for London (TfL).

The anonymous street art icon posted a making-of video on his Instagram account yesterday afternoon (July 14) showing how he donned a white boiler suit, mask and hi-vis jacket before taking a cleaning bottle onto a Circle Line train carriage and posing as a TfL worker.

Once inside the train, the cleaning bottle is actually revealed to be a paint sprayer — with Banksy then seen spray-painting stencils of his signature rat characters sneezing over the inside of the carriages.

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One moment in the clip also sees Banksy being approached by a fellow tube user before they are beckoned away from the area where he has sprayed the graffiti.

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. . If you don’t mask – you don’t get.

A post shared by Banksy (@banksy) on

The video, titled ‘If You Don’t Mask You Don’t Get’, offers one of the clearest glimpses of Banksy to date — although his face is admittedly obscured behind his safety goggles and mask.

It ends with a message that’s been sprayed on the wall of a tube platform, which is combined with a second message on closing doors in the foreground to read: “I get lockdown, but I get up again”, a reference to Chumbawumba’s 1997 hit ‘Tubthumping’.

Last night, TfL confirmed that it had removed the artwork from the tube carriage in question as it had violated their “strict anti-graffiti policy” (via The Evening Standard).

A TfL spokesperson said “we appreciate the sentiment”, adding: “We’d like to offer Banksy the chance to do a new version of his message for our customers in a suitable location.”

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This latest offering from Banksy comes over a month on from his last post, which saw him comment on Bristol’s toppled statue of Edward Colston.

Last month protesters in Bristol used ropes to pull down the bronze statue of Colston, a prominent 17th Century slave trader who has been a controversial figure in the city for many years.

The statue was later dragged through the streets of Bristol and thrown into the harbour.

Banksy also recently shared a powerful piece of artwork in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, portraying the burning of an American flag.

The artwork was shared on his Instagram page after the death of George Floyd, an African American man who was killed in Minneapolis when a white police officer knelt on his neck as he lay on the ground during an arrest.

Earlier this year, Banksy celebrated the health workers of the UK in a sketch that portrayed them as superheroes during the ongoing battle against coronavirus.

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