A ‘new Banksy’ mural has appeared in Nottingham - but is it genuine?

A new artwork has appeared on a wall in Nottingham, and it is thought it could be the latest work of elusive street artist, Banksy.

The mural - depicting a young girl hula hooping with a rear bike tire next to a real life bicycle, chained to a lampost and missing its rear wheel - can be found in Ilkeston Road, Radford, outside a beauty salon.

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Banksy has not confirmed whether the piece is indeed one of his works, but a protective screen has already been put in place to protect the potentially valuable art.

What does the mural mean?

Nottingham remains the highest in the country for coronavirus infection rates. Though the area is currently facing Tier 2 lockdown measures, there are fears the government could bump it up to its toughest Tier 3 measures in the near future.

Many have speculated that this could be the reason why Banksy may have chosen the city as the location for his latest piece, but whether it’s simply a chance to brighten residents’ days or it carries some deeper meaning remains to be seen.

"Nottingham needs something like this right now - something to talk about rather than coronavirus," resident Josinya Powell told the BBC.

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"If it is Banksy that'd be amazing - I'd say to him, ‘Thanks babes'."

Others have suggested the bike in the mural is symbolic of the city’s Raleigh factory. The famous bike manufacturer - one of the oldest bicycle companies in the world - closed its Nottingham factory in 2002, ending 114 years of bicycle production in the city and sparking the loss of nearly 300 jobs.

At the time, Raleigh said cheap imports from the Far East were largely to blame for the decision.

How was the mural painted?

(Photo: Tim Goode/PA)

The creation of the artwork was carried out in relatively little secrecy, reportedly in broad daylight.

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Nearby shop owner, Alex Mitchell, described seeing the artwork unfold when a van "with blacked out windows" pulled up at about 5pm on Tuesday 13 October.

Mitchell told the BBC, "I only saw the driver. I didn't know what was going on or whether I should call the police.”

A piece of cardboard was left "gaffer taped to the wall", and when Mitchell returned the next day, the same person was there again.

"He pretended like he had broken down but he was there for at least two hours. I asked him 'Who is the artist?' and he just winked at me. I'm not going to say whether it is Banksy or not. It definitely looks like one, but no one saw who painted it.”

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Mr Mitchell said at one point the man came into his shop and bought two bottles of Ribena.

Is it really a Banksy?

Professor Paul Gough, a Banksy expert from Arts University Bournemouth, expressed doubt as to whether the artwork was indeed created by Banksy.

"The quality of the drawing in the hands and the feet isn't as accomplished as I've seen in other works," he said.

"And it's not as topical. The last four or five pieces Banksy's done have been really addressing the crisis we're in at the moment with wit and humour."

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Regardless of the artist behind it, Nottingham City Council have taken no chances and placed a temporary plastic covering over the work to protect it.

The council reminded people not to gather around the artwork due to coronavirus restrictions.

A version of this article originally appeared on our sister title, the Scotsman