The work, which appeared on the red brick wall of the former Reading Prison that once housed Oscar Wilde, was officially claimed by the artist.
A legendary artist Banksy confirmed that a painting on the side of an ex-prison appearing to show an inmate escaping a painting is his work. It appeared on the red brick wall of the former Reading Prison that once housed Oscar Wilde.
Banksy confirmed he made new ‘escaping inmate”
The painting draws attention because it shows an inmate escaping using a knotted spool of paper from a typewriter. The slippery street artist posted a video on his Instagram account claimed responsibility for the work. He made a parody of an instruction art video in the footage. He is shown stealthily executing the design, which is called Create Escape. The video is set to archive commentary from an episode of The Joy Of Painting with Bob Ross.
Reading Prison is famous as the location where Oscar Wilde served two years’ hard labour for “gross indecency“. Although the site closed to prisoners in 2013, its future is currently the focus of discussion. The Ministry of Justice, which owns the building, is due to decide by March 15 whether it will be turned into an arts venue.
Speaking after the piece was confirmed as a Banksy, Toby Davies, artistic director for RABBLE Theatre in Reading described it as fantastic. “It adds real kudos to the whole campaign to have someone who knows a thing or two about culture take a risk and come and do this on a Ministry of Justice building. It is phenomenal, it displays how much it means to people. Whenever I speak to people, not just those in the culture world but those who walk past it every single day, they get very emotional about it. Reading has never had the opportunity to have a go at an international cultural centre that brings people together,” said Davies.
He also added that the building should be a bubbling centre of UK culture. The campaign to turn the site into an arts hub has support from Stephen Fry, Dame Judi Dench, Sir Kenneth Branagh and Natalie Dormer.
A spokesman for Reading Borough Council said, “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 is pushing the Ministry of Justice, who owns the site, to make suitable arrangements to protect the image.”