Banksy work put on sale in 'fractions' as collectors offered digital NFT shares
A STREET art dealer is offering people 'digital shares' in a mural by Banksy which was removed from a building in Fishponds Road.
The stencilled image of a gorilla holding a pink mask first appeared on the side of the former North Bristol Social Club in Eastville in 2001.
It was removed from the side of the building, now the Jalalabad Islamic Centre, in September 2020 by street art restoration company Exposed Walls, with the agreement of the centre's owner Saeed Ahmed.
But Mr Ahmed had it painted over shortly after he bought the building in 2011 but Exposed Walls removed the concrete and bricks on which it was sprayed in one piece, restored the painting and framed it.
It was put up for online auction in October 2020 then removed from sale.
Now Exposed Walls, which owns the work by the world famous Bristol street artist, has put the picture for sale as an "NFT edition".
It is inviting people to buy an NFT or 'non-fungible token', a unique securely-stored piece of digital data, which represents ownership of a physical section of the painting.
An Exposed Walls spokesperson said that rather than each NFT being a percentage share of the painting it would represent a "fractionalised" physical part of it, such as a nostril or eye.
He said: "The idea is that the collectors will try to collect the whole image."
The spokesperson said that once the sale was complete one of the NFT holders would win another Banksy piece, depicting refugees, which had been sprayed on a door in Scotland and had a "potential value" of around £750,000.
But he could not say how many NFTs were being sold or how much each one would cost.
NFTs have been a craze among tech investors and collectors, with the most expensive selling for more than £50 million, despite many people being bemused as to any benefit the owners get from them.
The spokesperson added: "Exposed Walls tends to focus on works that are on the verge of being lost to history, as was the case with Gorilla in a Pink Mask.
"Our intention is for this piece to one day be housed in a museum."
Exposed Wall says it will give a proportion of the proceeds of the sale to wildlife charity The Gorilla Organization and Bristol charity Developing Heath and Independence, helps "disadvantaged people and those living on the margins of society turn their lives around" through initiatives including supported housing and drug treatment.
The Voice has asked Banksy's representatives for the artist's view on NFTs.
Picture: The Banksy picture was removed from a wall and is now in a frame. Photo: Exposed Walls