British graffiti artist Banksy recently left a surprise in the form of a mural spray-painted outside a UK school after the children named a team house after him.
The painting was discovered by staff and students at the Bridge Farm Primary School in Bristol, located in western England, after returning from a mid-term school vacation.
The artwork came with a note from Banksy thanking the school for naming one of its houses after him. The mural was done in the form of a child’s drawing, portraying a stick figure of a young girl pushing a flaming tire with a stick.
The letter said: “Please have a picture. If you don’t like it feel free to add stuff, I’m sure the teachers won’t mind. Remember — it’s always easier to get forgiveness than permission. Much love.”
A caretaker at the school originally wanted to clean the painting off when he found it, believing that it had been placed there by vandals. Thankfully, the letter was found before that happened. The note was addressed to the caretaker for the attention of the head teacher.
Head teacher Geoff Mason said the school had recently named its buildings after prominent local figures.
“It was done after we ran a competition to change the house names, and we decided to name them after Bristol legends. We had to include Banksy,” Mason said.
He added that the school plans to keep the mural and has no plans to sell it. He noted that the mural is both “inspirational and aspirational” for students. The school is currently determining the best way to preserve the mural.
A spokesperson for Banksy has confirmed the authenticity of the mural, reports Angela Dewan for CNN.
Schools divide their students into houses in Britain, which each have their own color and name. The idea is to bring students together from all grade levels in an effort to inspire them to work as a team, competing in sports and other activities, while at the same time encouraging team spirit.
Banksy artwork can be sold for a high price. According to Forbes, small canvases painted by the artist that were originally bought on a street in New York City were valued at over $200,000 in 2013. Meanwhile, Sotheby’s London auctioned three of his pieces in 2007, selling them for amounts in the six figures, writes Nina Golgowski for The Huffington Post.
While the true identity of Banksy is unknown, it is believed he originally grew up in Bristol, supposedly having been born there in 1974. Renowned for the politically-charged nature of his pieces, Banksy recently placed one of his pieces across from the French embassy in London, which has criticized the treatment of migrants in France.
Scientists recently employed geographic profiling techniques typically used to find serial killers and terrorists in an effort to uncover the true identity of Banksy, suggesting he is a man named Robin Gunningham. However, this has never been confirmed. Meanwhile, others believe his work is actually completed by a team of artists.