The leader of Hull Council said the local authority will take into account public opinion to determine the fate of what appears to be a genuine piece of Banksy graffiti on a city centre bridge.
Councillor Stephen Brady told The Yorkshire Post he admires the clandestine street artist’s work and hinted that he was in favour of the graffiti on Scott Street Bridge being preserved.
It comes after fellow city councillor, John Abbott, contacted Coun Brady to demand its removal. Coun Abbott has been quoted as saying Banky’s work does not compare with “real art” in the city gallery.
But the ccouncil leader, who was awarded an OBE in The Queen’s New Year’s Honours, in part to recognise his role during Hull’s UK City of Culture year in 2017, said he would welcome any extra influx of visitors to Hull that the graffiti might bring.
The artwork depicts a boy, mouth agape, raising a makeshift sword, carrying a shield and wearing a cap and an upturned colander on his head.
Painted in black and white, the figure is accompanied by the words ‘Draw the raised bridge!’ in white capital letters.
The artwork’s credibility as an authentic Banksy appears to be verified by a post on what is believed to be a genuine instagram account of the secretive graffiti master.
Social media is awash with expressions of delight about this latest graffiti, although others less endeared with Banksy’s work have labelled it as vandalism and have called for it to be removed.
Asked what the council would do about it, Coun Brady said: “I think it’s a good problem to have.
“It’s nice to know he (Banksy) knows where Hull is.
“In terms of the work he has done in the past, from what I’ve seen, I think it’s very good.”
Eagle-eyed locals first reported sighting the graffiti on Friday.
“Obviously with it just appearing, it’s too early to say,” Coun Brady said when asked what would happen next.
“I doubt whether in many other places where his work has been done it has been erased.
“I think public opinion will be on the side of keeping it and if it makes the bridge look better, I don’t see the problem.”
He acknowledged that not everyone now sees graffiti as offensive vandalism.
“People’s views have changed over a number of years. It is obviously not on the same materials as great works of art in the past, but it doesn’t look like an eyesore to me.
“We will wait and see if we have a number of people demanding it is removed but where his work has appeared in the past, I have not heard of many people wanting to erase it, but only time will tell.”
One thing is for sure, wherever Banksy’s graffiti has appeared before, it has grabbed the headlines and Coun Brady said: “If it brings people into the area then all the better. Wherever he has done ‘paintings’, or however you would describe his work, it has had national interest.”