Gaza man feels duped after selling Banksy mural for $175

Gaza man feels duped after mistakenly selling a graffiti by world-renowned street artist, Banksy, for possibly a fraction of its real value.

GAZA CITY, GAZA (APRIL 1, 2015) (REUTERS) – A Palestinian man was lamenting his misfortune on Wednesday (April 1) after selling his bombed-out doorway to a local artist without realising that the image painted on it was by Banksy and could be worth a small fortune.

Rabea Darduna, a father of six from northern Gaza, said he sold the iron-and-brick doorway of his destroyed house to a local man who offered him 700 shekels ($175) for it.

Banksy, a British street artist who is famed for his ironic murals in unexpected places, visited Gaza earlier this year and spray-painted an image of a goddess holding her head in her hand on the door, one of a handful of paintings he did in Gaza.

Rabea Darduna, the man who sold the Banksy door painting, said he regrets selling it and wants it back.

“We didn’t sell it as a work of art, we sold it as a door because we didn’t know who Banksy is. So we sold it as we would sell an iron door for 700 NIS and the man took it. Later, things started becoming clear that the artist is worldwide famous and he drew it secretly. He (the man who bought the door) used us. My house is demolished, two levels house, we’re destroyed emotionally. We ask him to return the door,” said Rabea Darduna.

Darduna said he felt deceived and had been trying to call the man who bought the door but had not received any reply.

Another Gaza resident, Mohammed Alshanbari, is the owner of a single wall left standing after his whole house was demolished in Israeli airstrikes last summer. That wall is a second location where Banksy painted a graffiti of a cat playing with an iron ball.

“To be honest, I’m taking good care of it. A lot of media showed up and people asked to buy it but im keeping it and I won’t sell it. It’s a graffiti from the most famous artist in the world and I can’t give it away. It stands where the house used to stand. I cleared a lot of rubble but left that wall,” said Mohammed Alshanbari.

He said that he had the chance to speak to Banksy after he finished drawing the graffiti and during the conversation he explained to him his intentions behind all the graffiti he drew in Gaza.

“He told me when he was drawing it, I asked him what’s the meaning of the graffiti and he said: ‘it’s a symbol of the right to live, how is it that the kids and human beings don’t have the right to live here? Everyone should have the right to live, this place is demolished, I drew this cat that is playing with an iron ball instead of wool ball’,” Mohammed Alshanbari added.

Banksy pieces often sell for more than $500,000. A mural painted on a shop in London in 2013 sold at a private auction for $1.1 million. Banksy, who is from Bristol in the west of England, has never revealed his true identity.