Two pieces by the graffiti artist Banksy appeared on the same day last month.
The first – a piece showing three 1950s style spies listening in on a phone box– was sprayed in Cheltenham, Gloucester, close to Britain’s controversspy centre.
It makes the kind of witty topical political statement that Banksy has become known for.
But there’s also another hidden joke in this piece. One that perhaps only Banksy himself knows about… until now.
Here’s the explanation.
As photographers, film crews and fans were flocking to to their piece in Cheltenham, Banksy posted a new piece on his website.
However, the location of this art, showing two lovers embracing while they each checked their smartphones, was not revealed.
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Sky News ran videos throughout the day, but was unable to locate the mystery piece.
Understandably, most of the attention was on the spy art.
During this time, there was also an unexpected argument emerging which threatened to derail the whole sceheme.
When the location of the lovers kissing mural become known (next to a youth club in Bristol), the manager claimed that someone ‘very close to Banksy’ had called to say the piece was a ‘financial gift’ from the the artist to help the struggling centre.
But after the killjoys at the local council confiscated the piece, claiming it was on their land and so belonged to them, Banksy was forced to write to the youth club and instruct them that it was, indeed, intended for them. donation for the youth club.
This shows in part that the piece in Cheltenhan was a decoy, a distraction, from attention being on the charitable art in Bristol, presumably to reduce the chance of somebody stealing it.
And what a fitting way to pull off such subterfuge, than with a mural on that exact topic – trickey, duplicty and decpetion.
It adds another dimension of wit and mystery to this latest Banksy episode.
And no doubt the artist, who has admitted that he followed the affair in the news in the ensuing days, would have been watching his plans unfold, feeling pretty smug at his hidden joke.