Image via Banksy
Banksy has claimed responsibility for artwork that appeared on the wall of Reading Prison earlier this week.
In an Instagram post, the street artist shared the process behind the monochrome mural, which sees a man escaping from prison with a rope made out of bedsheets, rolled out from a typewriter. The piece is meant to resemble the famous inmate Oscar Wilde, per the BBC.
According to the BBC, Wilde was detained in Reading Prison in the late 19th century after an “indecent affair” with Lord Alfred Douglas. His time in jail inspired the poem Ballad of Reading Gaol, which touched on the harshness of the Victorian penal system.
In the Instagram video, Banksy is seen spraying paint to create the artwork, Create Escape. The clip is juxtaposed with an episode of an art instruction video, The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross.
The prison has been derelict since 2013 and was put up for sale by the government to build housing. Currently, the Reading council hopes to save and transform it into an arts complex, according to the BBC.
The Reading Borough Council added that Banksy’s involvement might have suggested that he is backing the movement to save the prison.
“We are thrilled that Banksy appears to have thrown his support behind the council’s desire to transform the vacant Reading Gaol into a beacon of arts, heritage, and culture with this piece of artwork he has aptly called Create Escape,” the council said.
The council is pushing the Ministry of Justice to take important steps to protect the artwork.