Ukrainian police have managed to rescue an artwork by Banksy in the town of Hostomel, just outside Kiev, after it was nearly stolen by a group of eight people.
On the 2nd of December the thieves cut the work of the wall of a ruined and unused building which had been badly bombarded when the city was taken by the Russians. The image shows a woman wearing a dressing gown with her hair in curlers. These signs of comfortable domesticity are shockingly juxtaposed with two paraphernalia of war, a gas mask and a fire extinguisher.
Fortunately, the police were quickly on the scene of the crime. “Several people were detained on the spot,” Kyiv Governor Oleksiy Kuleba reported in a post on Telegram. “The graffiti is undamaged and is with law enforcement while the investigation continues.”
Kyiv police chief Andriy Nebytov said as many as eight people between the ages of 27 and 60 were suspected of being involved in the attempted robbery.
The mural was one of seven stenciled pieces that Banksy completed in November in various war-torn Ukrainian cities. They are all now under police protection, says Kuleba’s statement.
“These images are a symbol of our fight against the enemy,” Kuleba added. “These are stories about the support and solidarity of the entire civilized world with Ukraine. Let’s do everything to preserve the works of street art as a symbol of our future victory.”
This is not the first time thieves have shown an interest in getting away with one of Banksy’s public works. Earlier this year, another group of eight were found guilty of stealing a mural by Banksy painted on the entrance to the Bataclan in Paris, honoring the victims of the 2015 terror attacks.
After being stolen in January 2019, it was recovered in an attic on a farm in Italy in June 2020.
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