Bidding on Banksy gorilla artwork removed from Eastville wall hits £190,000
A BANKSY mural removed from the side of a building in Eastville has been put up for auction.
Bidding on the work, known as Masked Gorilla or Glitter Gorilla, had already reached £190,000 today, with more than two weeks to go until the end of the auction.
It is being sold by street art restoration company Exposed Walls, which removed it from the side of the Jalalabad Islamic Centre in Fishponds Road in September, with the agreement of the centre's owner Saeed Ahmed.
The stencilled image of a gorilla holding a pink mask first appeared on the side of the former North Bristol Social Club in 2001.
But Mr Ahmed had it painted over shortly after he bought the building in 2011.
He apologised to street art fans at the time, saying he had not realised what the painting was, and it was later partially restored.
But the concrete and bricks on which it was sprayed have now been removed in one piece and mounted for the online auction, which is due to finish on November 17.
Mr Ahmed (below) said he planned to donate a "large portion" of the money raised to local charities, including Developing Health & Independence, which provides support, advice and housing for people with drug and alcohol issues and their families, housing advice and community well-being services.
He said: "The reason for selling is because the building is falling to pieces and we wanted to safeguard the piece. We are also giving money back to local charities in the Bristol area, which I will provide to charities like Developing Health and Independence in Bristol."
A spokesperson for Exposed Walls said: "This was a project to help furnish the mosque as well as donate money to several charities on behalf of Exposed Walls and the Jalalabad Islamic centre.
"It's very important to us that the money goes back into the community.
"Art enriches lives and it's a part of our mission to ensure that it is well looked after, and all restoration was intricately done."
Banksy's satirical Devolved Parliament painting, which depicts chimps in the House of Commons, sold for £9.2 million last year, while another piece, Show Me The Monet, which added abandoned shopping trolleys and a traffic cone to his own version of Monet's The Water-Lily Pond, from the National Gallery, sold for £7.5m in October.
The Masked Gorilla was one of Banksy's oldest surviving street art works.
It is open for bids at the Exposedwalls.com website - and has yet to reach its reserve price.