A POIGNANT mural of ash falling on a small child has appeared on a garage door in South Wales – sparking speculation it could be a new Banksy.
Fans believe the street art could be a commentary on Port Talbot’s industrial heritage, that saw it make headlines for air pollution due to steelworks.
The image shows a child, bundled up in a winter jacket, gloves and a beanie, playing in ash coming from an industrial bin fire.
Owner of the garage Ian Lewis, 55, said there had been an explosion of interest in the artwork since it appeared, with hopes it had been done by the mysterious street artist.
He said: “I didn’t know much about Banksy up until about last year. A friend visited Bristol and she showed me some photographs she’d taken of his work.”
The steelworker believes the town was chosen after it was wrongly identified at the most polluted town in the UK by the World Health Organisation.
WHO was forced to apologise after it admitted Port Talbot’s air pollution was measured at 9.6853 micrograms, just under half of the figure it had originally given the town.
The measurement was just below WHO national guideline of 10 micrograms.
Banksy most recently made headlines after his Girl with Balloon artwork self-destructed after being sold at auction.
On Wednesday afternoon workers for Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council erected metal fencing around the garage wall.
Who is Banksy?
BANKSY is an elusive graffiti artist whose real identity has never been revealed.
The secretive street scribbler has been baffling the world for years after creating street art using the cover of darkness to keep his anonymity – with the provocative artist unveiling his latest piece in New York. But just who is he?
Dubbed the Scarlet Pimpernel of the art world, Banksy is an anonymous English-based street and graffiti artist as well as a political artist.
He first burst into prominence in the early 1990s as a graffiti artist whose works highlighted corruption and inequality in society with a smattering of humour.
His work was spotted around the south of England, including in London, Brighton and Bristol, although his art has often popped up in prominent international locations.
Local Rachel Honey-Jones, 33, said: “It’s amazing, an incredible addition to Port Talbot.
“Everything about it is political messaging, the way the boy has been drawn, the positioning near the steelworks, the fact it was done just after the (Severn Bridge) tolls went down.”
Se added: “If it’s not Banksy then it’s a very similar artist.”
The secretive street artist, believed to be based in Bristol, usually posts new work to his website or social media, but the Port Talbot piece has yet to make an appearance.
Black dust from the town’s steelworks covered houses, cars and pets in the area in July, a possible inspiration for the artwork.
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A spokesman for Neath Port Talbot Council said: “The Council is sending officers to liaise with the property holder to assist in protecting this artwork.
“However it must be remembered that the artwork is on private property and has not yet been confirmed that the artist is Banksy.”
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