Gaza Banksy mural sold to 'conman' for just $175

The street artist snuck into Gaza in February and left behind four murals

Matilda Battersby
Wednesday 01 April 2015 16:01
Comments
'Bomb damage, Gaza City'
'Bomb damage, Gaza City'

A man from Gaza claims to have been tricked into selling a potentially valuable Banksy piece titled 'Bomb damage, Gaza City' for just $175 (£118).

Rabie Darduna, 33, sold the powerful artwork showing a crouching woman - believed to be a depiction of the Greek goddess Niobe — with her head in one hand in a gesture of despair for far less than the commercial value of a Banksy piece.

The stencil appeared on the last remaining door of Mr Darduna’s home – the rest of which was reduced to rubble during last year’s war — in the Gaza strip in February.

Mr Darduna told the BBC he was conned into selling the piece by a local man who pretending to work for Banksy.

"Really, we're depressed. It's a matter of fraud," he said, adding he now wants the door back.

The artist who bought the door, Belal Khaled, told PA he did not mean to trick anyone.

He said he just wants to protect the painting and has no intention of profiting.

Mr Khaled said: "I bought the painting to protect its artistic value and preserve it from damage. Another reason is to display it in other places as well. I don't have any monetary interest in this."

He said he has been in touch with Banksy's representatives hoping to get a clearance to showcase it in Gaza art exhibits.

Banksy arrived in the war hit region earlier this year to conduct one of his most political projects to date, drawing attention to the devastation with a series of works.

“Gaza is often described as ‘the world’s largest open air prison’ because no-one is allowed to enter or leave,” Banksy wrote in the caption to 'Bomb damage, Gaza City' published on his official website soon after the artwork appeared.

“But that seems a bit unfair to prisons – they don’t have their electricity and drinking water cut off randomly almost every day.”

Mr Darduna's home is one of 18,000 destroyed in the 50-day war between Israel and Gaza's Hamas rulers last summer.

Banksy is a vocal critic of Israel and the works he created in Gaza and the West Bank in February were intended to draw attention to the plight of the Palestinians.

Describing his mural of a large white cat, Banksy said: “A local man came up and said ‘Please – what does this mean?’

"I explained I wanted to highlight the destruction in Gaza by posting photos on my website – but on the internet people only look at pictures of kittens.”

A number of Banksy murals have been chopped out of walls and sold on the common market by the owners of the property they appeared on but they normally fetch a much higher price.

In January a collection of 32 of the artist’s prints sold at Bonhams for nearly £435,000 – more than double what they were estimated.

Last summer a mural by Banksy on the wall of a social club in Bristol sold for more than £400,000.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in