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Banksy Art Buff still in storage four years after returning to Folkestone

Folkestone's Banksy artwork remains in storage - four years after it returned to the town from America.

'Art Buff' appeared in 2014 as part of the Triennial arts festival and shows a woman wearing headphones peering over a plinth.

The famous Banksy appeared in Folkestone in 2014
The famous Banksy appeared in Folkestone in 2014

It was painted by the renowned street artist on the side of Palace Amusements arcade in Payers Park, owned by the Godden family.

It was subjected to graffiti and only six weeks later it was removed and sent to America, where it went on auction in Miami, with any proceeds planned to go to the charity set up in aid of Jimmy Godden who died in March 2012.

But after it failed to sell a legal battle over its ownership saw the painting placed in the hands of the Creative Foundation, now Creative Folkestone, in 2015, who brought it back to the town and placed the valuable work in storage.

The Banksy piece Art Buff has been in storage for four years
The Banksy piece Art Buff has been in storage for four years

An announcement from the art group said it would be put back on display to the awaiting public in 2018, but the year came and went and it failed to emerge.

When approached by KentOnline, Folkestone Creative said: “There is currently no update on the Folkestone Banksy - it still remains in storage and will be on display at a later date.”

Cllr Mary Lawes (Foundation Party UK), from Folkestone Town Council, said she has "lost track" of how long the piece has been "hidden away".

Creative Foundation chief Alastair Upton spoke to kmfm about the Banksy in 2017

She said: “The town has always thought of the Banksy as their own.

"It is very frustrating that locals and visitors alike, cannot view it. Let’s hope that all will be revealed soon, especially with the Triennial being next year.”

KMTV reported on the Banksy artwork in Dover disappearing

Cllr Jackie Meade (Lab), district member for East Folkestone ward and town mayor, said: “I find it incredibly sad that yet another tourist season has come and gone without this iconic image being on show.

"This is a great missed opportunity especially now the Dover Banksy has also 'disappeared'.

“I set a friendly challenge to the Creative Quarter to get our Folkestone Banksy out for public view in time for the run up to Christmas.”

Dover's Banksy mysteriously disappeared last month from the building it had adorned for the last two years.

The piece shows a workman chipping away at a star on the European flag.

But, following the erection of scaffolding on the side of the building, the painting disappeared.

It is not clear if the mural has been permanently removed or protected to avoid further damage.

Read more: All the latest news from Folkestone

Read more: All the latest news from Dover

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