New Banksy tree mural in north London defaced with white paint | Banksy

A mural of a tree painted by Banksy on a residential building in north London has been defaced with white paint two days after it first appeared.

The artwork in Finsbury Park features rough brushstrokes of green paint on a wall near a tree, giving an abstract appearance of foliage, with a stencil of a person holding a pressure hose next to it.

Images shared on social media on Wednesday showed that the mural on Hornsey Road appeared to have been partly covered.

Banksy claimed the mural as his own in an Instagram post on Monday after it was speculated to be one of his.

One local resident, Matt McKenna, told the BBC: “It has got lots of people talking and it is a bit of London which is a bit forgotten at times.”

Since the mural appeared over the weekend, fencing has been installed around the tree and the wall.

Islington council said it was aware of the defacement but it had not yet responded with further comment. Before the white paint appeared, the council said its graffiti removal team was aware of the artwork and would not remove it.

People look at the damaged Banksy artwork. Photograph: Victoria Jones/PA Media

The local authority said the cherry tree chosen by Banksy was 40-50 years old and in declining health, with decay and fungal damage. The council had removed the top branches of the tree – a process known as pollarding – to try to keep it alive, and was anticipating that it should rebud across its crown.

James Peak, who created the BBC Radio 4 series The Banksy Story, told the BBC that the work had a clear message: “Nature’s struggling and it is up to us to help it grow back.”

He said Banksy had chosen a “very busy, urban, built-up environment” in which to set it, with the tree sitting in the gardens of some social housing. The figure of the woman was a “classic Banksy-style stencil”, he added.

“It looks like the tree has burst into life, but in a noticeably fake and synthetic way. And it’s pretty subtle for a massive tree, I’d say. It’s spring now, and this tree should be bursting forth with leaves, but Banksy must have cycled past and thought how miserable it looks,” Peak said.

Banksy’s last confirmed work was in December when he painted military drones on to a stop sign in Peckham, south London. That was removed less than an hour after he confirmed it was genuine on social media, with witnesses reporting it was taken down by a man with bolt cutters. Two men were later arrested on suspicion of theft and criminal damage.

Recommended For You