National

Potential Banksy, now in storage, to be displayed at Tokyo City Hall

Kyodo

A piece of street art discovered in January that some attribute to Banksy is to be shown at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government building starting next week, Gov. Yuriko Koike said Friday.

The announcement was met with skepticism online as some questioned whether Tokyo was now accepting vandalism. Others pointed to the irony of City Hall hosting the exhibition, as the elusive artist’s work is often perceived as anti-authority.

“We’re not approving the act of vandalism on public property,” Koike said at a news conference. “We decided to display the work for a limited period as we find the public is very curious about it.”

The image of a rat holding an umbrella and bag was spray-painted on a metal flood barrier in the Tokyo Bay area. It will be displayed from Thursday to May 8.

The drawing — no bigger than a sheet of office paper — has since been removed and stored in a warehouse.

Officials are trying to contact Banksy through an Instagram account to confirm its validity but have yet to receive a reply.

Koike said the officials held hearings with experts and learned the drawing is highly likely to be an authentic Banksy.

Banksy, whose identity is known to few, paints his work, including some featuring rats, on walls and other objects all over the world.

In October the artist caused controversy by having his “Girl with Balloon” painting shredded by remote control just after it sold for $1.4 million at an auction in London.