Missing Bristol Banksy gorilla appears at auction

Missing Bristol Banksy gorilla appears at auction

An early Banksy artwork which mysteriously disappeared from the wall of a Bristol community centre last month has been put up for auction.

Gorilla in a pink mask had been on the wall of the former North Bristol Social Club in Eastville since around 2001.

In 2011 the building’s owner painted over it thinking it was just graffiti.

It has now been revealed the 100kg (220lb) artwork was removed from the Jalalabad Islamic Centre by an art restoration company and is being sold.

Vans were spotted parked at the site in mid-September, prompting speculation the familiar landmark was being restored.

Now, more than a month since it went missing, street art restoration company Exposed Walls has revealed it was given permission to remove it by the centre.

The centre’s owner, Saeed Ahmed, said he wants to raise funds to restore the 100-year-old building and give “money back to local charities in the Bristol area”.

“The reason for selling is because the building is falling to pieces and we wanted to safeguard the piece,” he said.

“But I do miss it. We used to have lots of people coming to look at it and now people come and see it’s gone.”

The 1.5m by 0.8m “aerosol on concrete” mural, depicts a gorilla holding up a pink masquerade mask.

Wayne Rock, from Exposed Walls, said it had been a “challenge” to remove it.

“It took four or five days to remove it. We had to create a hole and come from behind so that it didn’t break and we could release it,” he said.

“It’s been damaged with paint and has had a little bit of light restoration but it is brilliant.”

Also known as Glitter Gorilla, the piece is being sold online with the auction ending on 17 November.

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