Girl with Balloon, by Banksy, shredded

You may have read / heard the story of how a canvas copy of Girl with Balloon, signed by street artist Banksy, self-destructed last Friday moments after it had been sold at auction at Sotheby’s, in London. This is the report from BBC radio 4 six o’clock news (original source here):

Banksy is shrouded in secrecy and mystery (his real identity has never been revealed, for instance). The motives for this action, and the circumstances surrounding it, as well as its consequences, are only a matter of speculation. You may ask your students to speculate on the questions below (or even, ask them to come up with further questions and wonderings of their own):

  • Where was Girl with Balloon originally painted?
  • Was it actually an original Banksy? If so, how did Sotheby’s get hold of a copy of Girl with Balloon signed by Banksy?
  • How could anyone get a shredder inside the painting?
  • What’s going to happen with the £1 million paid for the painting?
  • Some reports claim that the work now will be worth double the amount of money paid for it at the auction. How can that be when it is apparently destroyed?
  • Who did it? Was it Banksy? Why would he do that? Or was it somebody else? Did they need accomplices? Were the gallery in on it? Are Sotheby’s going to get even more profit out of it, or will they be losing money?

Possible answers to these questions might be found in the articles and news reports below:

And this is the video Banksy posted on his instagram account after the incident: (Going, going, gone!)

Follow-up on the story (5th Feb 2019)