With the proceeds from the multi-million dollar sale of a stencil, Banksy wants to convert an empty British prison, in which Oscar Wilde was once imprisoned, into an art center. As reported by the Sunday Times newspaper, the legendary street artist is offering to increase the Reading City Council’s offer by £ 10 million (€ 11.7 million) to £ 12.6 million.
It is the stencil that Banksy used to paint a large-scale work of art on the outside wall of the former Reading Detention Center in March. “Create Escape” shows an inmate abseiling with the help of tied sheets and a typewriter. The work is a tribute to Wilde, who was imprisoned here from 1895 to 1897 for homosexual “fornication”. So far, only one drawing by Banksy has been auctioned.
“I hardly had any interest in Reading until I drove past the prison on a replacement rail bus,” the newspaper quoted the artist as saying. “It’s rare to find an uninterrupted 500 meter long paintable surface in the middle of a city. I almost climbed over the person sitting next to me to get a better look. “
Reading City Council, about 55 kilometers west of London, supports Banksy’s offer. An offer from the committee was recently rejected and the building, which had not been in use since 2013, was sold to a real estate company, but this deal did not materialize either. The Justice Department, however, reacted skeptically to Banksy’s plans. The offer period had expired, it said. (APA / dpa)