Calls for Banksy's defaced 'Art Buff' piece to be re-instated in Folkestone

The owners have said they can no longer maintain the piece after it was defaced

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A seaside town is fighting to re-instate a Bansky piece which was removed from the outside wall of an arcade after the owners said they could no longer maintain it.

The 'Art Buff' mural appeared on the wall of an amusement arcade in Folkestone at the end of Septemer.

Art lovers soon flocked to the town to catch a glimpse of the piece depicting an elderly woman listening to what appears to be an audio guide while staring at an empty plinth.

A clear plastic sheet was placed over the mural to protect the work, but a penis was spray-painted on the plinth two weeks later and council workers were drafted in to clean the mural.

The Godden family, who own the arcade which Banksy painted the piece on, removed 'Art Buff' over the weekend, claiming they are no longer able to protect it from damage.


The artwork is expected to be auctioned off by the Bankrobber Gallery in London. A picture of the mural before the crude graffiti was removed is displayed on the homepage of its website.

Over the weekend, protesters objecting to the artwork’s removal gathered at the site, and left messages on the Bankrobber Gallery's Facebook page voicing their disappointment.

Shepway District Council, which had been helping to maintain the mural, said it was “disappointed” to hear that 'Art Buff' had been removed.

Damian Collins, Conservative MP for Folkestone and Hythe Mr Collins, also appealed to the Godden family to save the Banksy piece for Folkestone.

“I was very disturbed to hear that the Banksy artwork on the wall of Palace Amusements in Folkestone was removed at the request of the Godden family who own the building,” he said.

"It would have been much better if they had discussed this with people in the town before acting as they have."

Mr Collins has written to the family asking to discuss an alternative solution to selling the piece, which would see the artwork remain on public display in Folkestone "either at the same or a different location.”

Art dealer Robin Barton told Academy FM, Folkestone's community radio station, that any proceeds of an auction would be given to a cancer charity set up in memory of Mr Godden's late father, Jimmy Godden.

Pictures of the wall at Payers Park appeared on the Banksy website before and after the artwork appeared, claiming the image was part of the Folkestone Triennial.

The triennial, which ended yesterday, was a two-month long showcase of art in the resort, which has attracted the likes of Yoko Ono, widow of the late Beatle John Lennon.

The event gained headlines at this year's launch when Berlin-based artist Michael Sailstorfer sparked a stampede when he hid 30 bars of 24-carat gold, worth £10,000, on Folkestone beach.