Banksy's urban tree artwork is defaced with white paint

  • Written by Thomas Mackintosh
  • BBC News

Image source, McKenna died

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The artwork appeared over the weekend in Finsbury Park, but was defaced with white paint

A mural painted by street artist Banksy on a north London apartment block appears to have been defaced.

The artwork appeared over the weekend in Finsbury Park, and features swaths of green paint on a wall behind a nearby tree, to create the look of foliage, with a stencil drawing of a person next to it.

But on Wednesday morning, local resident Matt McKenna, 35, saw white paint splattered on the wall.

Islington Council has been contacted for comment.

'A real shame'

Large numbers of people traveled to view the artwork, but McKenna told BBC London that he saw the mural had been defaced while he was out walking his dog.

“It's a real shame. It happened overnight,” he said. “When it showed up on Sunday, my partner saw it and said she absolutely loved it before everyone was talking about it.

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The tree was cut down before and after, and the Banksy mural before it appears to have been painted over with white paint

“Then rumors started suggesting that this painting was by Banksy, and then he posted that it was Banksy on Instagram.

“It got a lot of people talking, and it's a part of London that sometimes gets a little forgotten.”

As with many of Banksy's works, the latest piece has sparked controversy and a range of opinions, including those of some conservationists who say the tree has been trimmed or polluted too much.

Previously, before the white paint came to light, Islington Council said the graffiti removal team was aware of the artwork and would not remove it.

The local authority explained that the age of the cherry tree chosen by Banksy ranges between 40 and 50 years, and that it is in deteriorating health, with exposure to decay and fungi.

The council added that it would continue to work to try to keep the tree alive and that it should regrow through its crown.

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Large numbers of people have traveled to Finsbury Park to view Banksy's artwork since it debuted over the weekend

The head of the company responsible for trimming the tree to its current shape on behalf of the council said his team used an “old form of pruning”, known as “pruning”, where the upper parts of the tree are removed.

He said it was “a really good way to increase the life of the tree” and hoped it would “boom with growth in the spring.”

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