An early work by the secretive street artist Banksy is set to be restored 11 years after it was accidentally painted over with gray emulsion. The installation, which was part of his 2001 “Peace Is Tough” exhibition at Glasgow nightclub The Arches, is made up of three elements: a monkey clad in a tutu and holding a gun; a version of the Mona Lisa; and a text between the two figures that reads: “Every time I hear the word culture I release the safety on my 9mm.”
During refurbishment work in 2007, the only known piece by Banksy in Scotland was mistakenly painted over. It was then left concealed behind paint after the club went into administration in 2015 following financial debts stemming from the the tragic death of 17-year-old Regane MacColl at the venue in February 2014. Last year, administrators said that the £8,364 ($10,900) needed to save the installation hadn’t been raised, it was feared that it might be lost forever.
Now the club’s new owners, Argyle Street Arches, is undertaking a five-month project to restore the installation in partnership with London-based Fine Art Restoration Co (FARCO) and hopes to complete the project by December. Chris Bull, technical director of FARCO, called the project hugely exciting. “We’re bringing three hidden Banksy pieces back to life,” he said, referring to the installation’s three elements.
Members of the public are invited to view the restoration live as work progresses at Argyle Street Arches beginning August 11th. The club owners are still soliciting support for the project through an Indiegogo campaign.