Credit: king of conkers79
Banksy's missing 'Love Plane' mysteriously reappears
A Banksy artwork that was controversially removed from its original position on a parking lot wall in Liverpool, England, has reportedly been replaced, in peculiar circumstances.
"Love Plane" is a 15-feet-tall spray painting of a aircraft with a smoke trail in the shape of a heart.
It was painted in 2011 and partially removed in 2016, purportedly to form part of a new street art museum in the city.
That museum has not yet opened and the whereabouts of the original Love Plane has remained a puzzle, but locals believe that the elusive street artist himself has returned to the site to replace it.
Dave Green, who works at the Western Approaches museum directly opposite the site, told CNN that he was standing at reception on Wednesday afternoon when he noticed a man in a blue hoody "messing about on the wall."
Green described how the man screwed a large board covered in a black plastic bag into the wall, before stripping off the plastic and walking away.
"We were standing inside laughing and joking: 'imagine that's Banksy,'" Green told CNN via telephone.
He then went over to take a closer look and said that it's almost the same picture as before in the exact same position.
Pictures of the artwork show the plane now trailing a black banner reading "I'm back."
The authenticity of the new artwork has not been confirmed by Banksy, who usually posts his work on social media to prevent copycats.
"It certainly looks pretty authentic but it's hard to tell," said Emma Stringfellow, operations director at the Western Approaches, who said that there were unlikely to be any other witnesses to the alleged sighting of the elusive artist.
"It's a very quiet street," said Stringfellow, who did not see the hooded man herself. "Whether or not anyone else saw him I don't know."
In 2016, the Love Plane was removed by Sincura Arts, a company which describes itself as a world leading expert in Banksy artworks.
The Sincura Arts website says that the Liverpool car park site was due for redevelopment and the Love Plane was "salvaged, restored and will be put into the new Liverpool Street Art Museum." Sincura Arts has not so far responded to CNN's request for comment.
Plans for a street art museum in Liverpool feed into a wider battle over what should be done with works that are made in public places.
In November 2018, US artist Ron English vowed to whitewash a Banksy that he bought for $730,000, in protest of the market in street art.
"This is a blow for street art. It shouldn't be bought and sold," English -- who is a street artist himself -- told the UK's Press Association agency at the time.
"I'm going to paint over it and just include it in one of the walls in my house," English said. "We're tired of people stealing our stuff off the streets and reselling it so I'm just going to buy everything I can get my hands on and whitewash it."
And Banksy himself has also sabotaged the sale of his work, famously shredding "Girl With Balloon" as it was auctioned for $1.4 million at Sotheby's in October 2018.
While the artwork was only partially destroyed, Banksy later posted a video which suggested that it was supposed to end up completely shredded.