A 33-year-old Gazan who sold his bombed-out iron-and-brick doorway to a local artist for NIS 700 (about $175) says he was tricked.
He had no idea that the image of a goddess holding her head in her hand was spray-painted on the door to the remains of his two-story northern Gaza home by a British graffiti artist named Banksy.
Banksy, whose true identity has never been revealed, is from the western British city of Bristol. He is known for painting his murals in unexpected places – famous for it, in fact – and last summer apparently sneaked into Gaza, leaving behind at least four of his works. Banksy also painted a playful kitten and a scene of children swinging in play from a military watch tower. He allegedly entered the enclave via a tunnel from Egypt, according to his publicist, Jo Brooks.
Gaza artist Gelal Khaled says that he did not intend to dupe anyone, but instead bought the painting to protect its artistic value and preserve it from damage. He also said he hopes to display it in other places as well and claimed he has no monetary interest in the painting.
The Gaza artist added that he has been in touch with Banksy’s representatives, however, to request permission to display the mural at Gaza art exhibits.
Some of Banksy’s pieces have sold for more than half a million dollars; a mural painted in 2013 on a shop in London sold for $1.1 million at a private auction.
Rabea Darduna, a father of six whose door became the canvas on which Banksy chose to paint, told the Reuters news agency by telephone he had “no idea what the value of that painting was, or who this Banksy is.
“I heard it can be sold for millions. If I had known, I would never had sold the door so cheap. Now I want it back.”Hana Levi Julian