Banksy confirms Reading Prison artwork is his

Banksy: Reading prison artwork vandalised with name of rival

Art adorns the walls of the disused prison in Reading

Louis Chilton
Tuesday 16 March 2021 10:33
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The latest work by enigmatic street artist Banksy has been vandalised with the name of a rival.

Banksy’s piece was discovered earlier this month on the wall of the defunct Reading Prison, and seemed to depict Oscar Wilde escaping from the facility with the use of a typewriter.

The wall has since been defaced again, with the typewriter obscured by red paint. Below the artwork, the words “Team Robbo” are scrawled in large red lettering.

King Robbo was a graffiti artist who was frequently described in the media as Banksy’s “nemesis”.

The pair sometimes painted over each other’s artworks, and became the subject of the 2011 Channel 4 documentary Graffiti Wars. Robbo died in 2014.

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Prior to its defacement, the artwork had attracted praise from Oscar-winning actor Kate Winslet, who interpreted Banksy’s piece as an endorsement of a proposal to convert the old prison into a centre for the arts.

“I just felt incredibly excited for Reading to have a Banksy,” said Winslet.

The stencil painting was discovered on the wall of the prison on 1 March, with onlookers speculating that Banksy was behind it.

Banksy then shared a video to social media which confirmed his authorship of the painting, featuring famous 1980s PBS artist Bob Ross.

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