Banksy surprises primary school students with mural

Story highlights

  • Elusive street artist Banksy paints mural to say thank you to students
  • "We're all very excited," deputy head teacher Matt Stannard says

London (CNN)When the children of Bridge Farm Primary School in Bristol were tasked with naming a school "house" after a local hero, they decided on the famous and elusive street artist Banksy.

Little did they expect to return from school holidays Monday to find an original Banksy of their own on an exterior wall of their school, in this city in southwestern England. The mural shows a stick-wielding girl chasing a flaming tire.
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    The artist had been informed of the students' decision in a letter, "but they heard nothing until this morning," the school's deputy head teacher Matt Stannard told CNN on Monday.
    Beside the mural Banksy, left a thank you note: "Thanks for your letter and naming a house after me. Please have a picture. If you don't like it feel free to add stuff, I'm sure the teachers won't mind," he wrote. The note was addressed to the caretaker for the attention of the head teacher.
    And in the true style of Banksy -- who is known for painting graffiti on public walls in secret, without permission -- he added: "Remember -- it's always easier to get forgiveness than permission. Much love Banksy."
    In Britain, schools divide students in different "houses" with names and colors, bringing together pupils from all grades as a team to compete in sports and other activities and to encourage team spirit.
    "I'm absolutely thrilled. We're all very excited," said Stannard, who added that the school plans to keep the mural as is instead of having students add to it. The school is now in talks over how best to preserve the mural, he said.
    Banksy's work sells for hundreds of thousands of dollars, but little is known about him, other than that he was born in Bristol, reportedly in 1974. His work is satirical and subversive, and can be found in many corners of the world, from London and New York to Mali and the Palestinian West Bank.
    Scientists recently used geographic profiling techniques usually employed to track down serial killers and terrorists to claim the artist is a man name Robin Gunningham, though this has never been confirmed. Others believe his works are done by a team of artists.