Three of Banksy’s early artworks at Glasgow’s famous Arches club are to be saved -- 11 years after they were accidentally covered with grey emulsion paint.
Argyle Street Arches (ASA) is undertaking a five-month project to restore three Banksy murals in Glasgow, in partnership with London-based Fine Art Restoration Co. (FARCO).
As part of a visit to Glasgow in early 2001, Banksy’s ‘Peace is Tough’ exhibition, at The Arches in Argyle Street, saw the elusive artist leave three works inside the venue.
They are of Mona Lisa surrounded by a picture frame and, on her left, a gun-toting monkey sporting a tutu.
Between the pieces are the words, ‘Every time I hear the word culture, I release the safety on my 9mm.’ All three artworks are in poor condition having been accidentally covered with grey emulsion paint in 2007.
Last year it was feared the works would be lost forever after administrators announced that financial restraints meant the artworks wouldn’t be restored.
The administrators - who took control of the venue in 2015 - said £8,364 had failed to be raised to save the works.
But now ASA and FARCO are now working together to save these important artworks for Scotland.
The Arches went bust after being left £500,000 in debt following the Glasgow City Council’s decision to impose a midnight curfew.
It came following the tragic death of 17-year-old Regane MacColl at the venue in February 2014.
It was previously hoped the three wall-based pieces could be removed and sold to help the struggling club.
A report by administrators Campbell Dallas said despite investigations, it could not be determined what value the three artworks would have, or whether there would be any interest in them.
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FARCO’s team of international experts specialising in wall painting conservation will carefully remove the grey paint, while protecting and revealing the original artwork hidden underneath.
The restoration will be completed a section at a time, and the first artwork to be restored will be the monkey.
Argyle Street Arches’ General Manager Scott Taggart, said: “We are delighted to be saving these rare artworks for the nation.
“We’re looking forward to being able to have them on permanent and public display for the people of Glasgow, and Scotland, once again.”
Chris Bull, Technical Director at FARCO, said: “This is a hugely exciting restoration project, and we’re very happy to be working with Argyle Street Arches.
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“We’re bringing three hidden Banksy pieces back to life, and in order to do this we need donations to be able to restore the artworks.
“By December 2018, donations permitting, we hope to have revealed all three sections.
“For each donation, each donor will receive an exclusive gift. And the more you donate, the bigger the gift.”
The range of gifts being offered to donors includes a limited edition boxed canvas to an official Banksy restoration poster.
Scott McCormick, owner of Argyle Street Arches, said: “It’s fantastic that the restoration can now begin, we’ve been planning the project for a long time.
“We’re excited to now get started and display Banksy’s artworks for the public to enjoy.”
Annual conservation will be undertaken by FARCO for 20 years at Argyle Street Arches to protect and maintain the restored artwork.
Live videos will document the progress on Facebook and www.banksy.scot so members of the public and fans of Banksy can be part of the restoration.
Members of the public are invited to view the restoration live as work progresses, from Friday-Sunday.
The project will start on Saturday 11 August 2018 from 1PM at Argyle Street Arches.
To support this project and donate visit the fundraising page on IndieGoGo or the gift shop at www.banksy.scot.